Sales and marketing teams inside solution providers aren't seeing eye to eye on money, methods and motivation, according to a recent survey by The Channel Company.
The survey, highlighted at The Channel Company's XChange Solution Provider event in March, pointed out that sales and marketing teams have different views on what marketing can do for their organizations. Sales teams tend to think marketing should be driving more traditional activities, like telesales and events. Marketing folks see their job, and its influence on the company, very differently.
Marketing execs see their value in leading digital marketing efforts, with 76 percent looking to drive spend on digital marketing and just 29 percent on events, The Channel Company CEO Bob Skelley told a crowd of several hundred solution provider and vendor executives at XChange. "Marketers know that digital marketing has to be core to what you are doing today, whereas only 58 percent of sales teams see that as a core capability," he said.
The traditional sales funnel – where the prospective buyer follows a cycle of awareness, interest, decision and action on their way to a purchase – has marketing at the top of the funnel (creating awareness and interest) and sales at the bottom (turning interest into revenue). If the two groups aren't working together, customers won't move smoothly through the buying process and might become frustrated along the way. Sales and marketing might, for instance, having differing views on how they define a qualified sales lead; that lingering gap in understanding could slow down revenue growth.
"If we don't figure out how to bring these two organizations together in terms of how they look at success and evaluate ROI, we are never going to have as impactful and robust marketing strategies as we could," Skelley warned the crowd.
He further pointed out that The Channel Company's survey showed that the ROI measures as defined by sales and marketing diverge, with 76 percent of marketing executives seeing ROI as building awareness compared with just 43 percent on the sales side. "We need to bring these two organizations together, get them working together, communicating better together, getting on the same page in how they measure and look at success and evaluate ROI," Skelley said.
For vendors, the sales and marketing gap can be closed with education, marketing resources and increased communication with the channel. By working closely with channel partners, vendors can be proactive by providing marketing messaging, content and materials for their solution providers to use during every step of the sales process.
By helping solution providers better understand the buyers journey and ideal sales prospects, vendors can help close the sales and marketing gap. Vendors can also enact a bonus structure tied to common goals that could motivate sales and marketing teams to work together, according to Jeremy MacBean, director of marketing and communications at IT Weapons, who spoke after Skelley at XChange.
Buyer behavior is changing and sales and marketing teams need to adjust. "People are purchasing in ways that were not the same as 20 years ago," said MacBean. "Don’t just ask for a meeting," he added. "Share a blog article, share a white paper or an e-book when you email a prospect. Do a little marketing."