Sales and Marketing Alignment in 2013? Not so Fast!

Executives continually point to the need for Sales and Marketing to align, with 90% of Senior Marketers indicating to Forrester that indeed alignment is a high or very high priority.

Although there is a desire for alignment, where the rubber meets the road, the story is quite contrary.

Sales leaders currently rank Sales Enablement as their number one requirement from Marketing, besting the need for more Demand Creation, Solution Marketing help and Channel Support in studies by SiriusDecisions.

Sales execs are now more pleased with the number and quantity of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) going to sales, and now are indicating they need help to better engage, sell and close.

However, the story is quite different when Marketing is asked about their own priorities. The most telling, if Marketing were given 10% more budget, where would they spend it?

It’s not on Enablement. By a wide margin, SiriusDecisions indicates that Marketing would rather spend the incremental 10% on their bread-and-butter, Demand Creation (35%), followed by Brand (17%).  Enablement ranked fifth in priorities for the incremental spend, with only 1 in 10 indicating that this would be their priority.

2013 - The Year for Sales Enablement?
The demand for better Sales Enablement has increased dramatically over the past three years. With the Great Recession, Buyers have changed – more empowered, skeptical, and frugal than ever before – a condition we call Frugalnomics.

Because of Frugalnomics, Sales is being invited later and later into the purchase decision process. In fact, CEB reports that 57% of the buyer’s journey has been completed prior to the customer engaging with a sales professional. At this later stage of engagement, it’s usually a Bakeoff between vendor offerings– a vicious shootout on features, function and especially price.

The result:
  • More competitive losses, as Buyers don’t properly frame your differentiating value and commoditize the offerings,
  • Longer decision cycles as Buyers struggle to properly understand the “cost of doing nothing” and value of change,
  • More discounting, as purchase price becomes the key differentiator.

Sales is now challenged to:
  • Deliver the provocative value story and quantification to make today’s more skeptical and frugal Buyer engage sooner, the tools and content to convince the buyer as to:

a.     “Why Change?” – Quantify the Pain
b.    “Why Now?” – Justify the Gain
  • When invited late into the discussion, the tools and content to help

a.     Reframe the discussion towards new / different pains that the Buyer might not have been totally aware of,
b.    The unique competitive value of proposed solutions,
c.     Total cost of ownership (TCO) advantages to transcend purchase price pressures.

How challenged is Sales to deliver the provocative tools and content without Marketing help? According to a recent DestinationCRM article:
  • The average sales rep spends 24% of his time preparing for sales calls,
  • 82% of sales reps are challenged by the amount of information available and the time it took to wade through it all,
  • 15 different data sources were leveraged in the sales call preparation.

 Many Sales reps feel the pain of Sales and Marketing misalignment, indicating that they need a “mini-van” to hold all the content needed to go on each sales call, but at the same time, don’t have the relevant, compelling value-focused content to uniquely engage with each prospect.

The Bottom-Line
As a key enabler to achieve revenue goals, your Marketing team should investigate how aligned your Marketing investments are with Sales needs, determining if you are focused as much on Sales Enablement as required.

Review the current Sales Enablement tools and content to determine if it provides sales with the provocative value story and quantification needed to engage, sell and close today’s more empowered, skeptical and frugal buyer.

Leverage new technology and Tablets to eliminate the mini-van of content needed and advance to a more provocative, data-driven, interactive, intelligent and relevant customer engagement.


The Evolved CMO – Forrester 2012 - A Joint Research Project by Forrester Research CMO Group and Heidrick & Struggles – global survey of 200 CMOs

Marketing Organization Design: The Sirius View - John Neeson , Managing Director and Co-Founder, Marilyn Reap Research Director, EECMO - May 2012

The End of Solution Sales – CEB 2012, survey of 1,400 B2B customers

How will CRM Evolve – Brian Kardon Nov 30, 2012, DestinationCRM 


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