Break Sales and Marketing Out of Their Silos

Grain Silos

By Allison Francis

Misaligned incentives, lack of insight into pricing strategies and disparate goals are just some of the problems that come from sales and marketing operating in silos within an organization.

Three sales and marketing experts will discuss the havoc that comes from a lack of communication between the people framing your company’s value prop and those charged with selling it to customers.

They will share advice in their presentation, Align or Die: Why Sales & Marketing Must Pull Together — or Perish Apart,” part of the sales and marketing track, April 9, during the Business Success Symposium at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

Channel Partners spoke to the panelists: Heather Margolis, founder and CEO of Channel Maven Consulting; Kayla Kirkeby, vice president of marketing for Dizzion; and Carrie Simpson, CEO and founder at Managed Sales Pros.

Channel Maven Consulting's Heather Margolis

Channel Maven Consulting’s Heather Margolis

The speakers shared their thoughts on the subject of sales and marketing and the need for harmony and alignment between the two. We have edited the answers for length and clarity.

Channel Partners: Describe some of the consequences that come from a lack of communication between sales and marketing.

Heather Margolis: There are so many; how long do we have! One [of the biggest] issues is that an organization isn’t being efficient if marketing is generating leads that sit in a funnel without be pushed through, and sales is focusing only on [its] previous client or low-hanging fruit. How much money is being left on the table? [As a consequence], prospects or targets are then hearing from two (or more) people from the same company which shows that the organization overall is not aligned.

Kayla Kirkeby: When sales and marketing aren’t aligned, an organization’s growth engine isn’t fully optimized. It isn’t functioning at max capacity. At the end of the day, sales and marketing are the tip of the spear for an organization in terms of generating new business. Without that, growth slows. And, while communication is certainly critical, understanding – and perhaps even empathy – between the two functions, is really key. Recognizing [that] everyone brings a certain set of skills and expertise to their position, and then from a leadership standpoint putting individuals in a position to maximize those strengths is really foundational to this optimization as well.

Dizzion's Kayla Kirkeby

Dizzion’s Kayla Kirkeby

Carrie Simpson: The biggest consequences I’ve seen from a lack of communication between sales and marketing include constant arguments on what qualifies as a “qualified lead,” dissent and finger pointing (are the leads bad, or is the sales team cherry picking?) and lack of clarity around the handoff point (when does an MQL become a SQL?).

CP: What’s sales’ No. 1 complaint about marketing, and vice versa?  

HM: Sales thinks marketing wastes time and money. Marketing thinks sales does things with no strategy or processes. If they just worked together, they’d realize it’s not a handoff from marketing to sales; it’s [meant to be a] handing back and forth, depending upon the status of the prospect/suspect/lead/opportunity. For example, if sales is already sending prospecting emails, they could include one or two keywords that marketing is trying to optimize and hyperlink from those keywords in their email to the appropriate page. This would not only strengthen their optimization, but [would] also enable the prospects to link back and forth to pages that would answer their questions, thereby moving them down the buyer’s journey.

KK: In my experience, complaints in either direction generally stem from a lack of understanding or …

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