Connecting Thought Leadership to Sales

perfectly aligned

Perfect alignment

Chris Koch’s most recent headline really caught my attention: Three Ways to Link Marketing to Revenue without Metrics. Beyond a great headline, he has great advice for marketers to ensure content and thought leadership is tightly connected to sales.

Here are Chris’s three key points:

  • Connect ideas to offerings: tell a story that extends from vision to implementation
  • Use ideas to attract and nurture leads
  • Train salespeople to use and talk about ideas

For many well-intentioned marketers, the missing link is product. Their are many visions for a given category, more than one will often come to fruition. When marketing looks to establish a company as a category thought leader, marketing and product must align around the same overall category vision. If it does not, the vision is hollow, and the prospects that were attracted to the vision quickly fall out of your sales funnel when they realize your product is not aligned.

For example, in business intelligence, there has been a lot of talk recently about mobile accessibility. However not every BI platform is mobile accessible, and a mobile user has different requirements. There is also a drive towards better predictive analytics as well as more robust integration of multiple data sources. All three can be distinct, and companies can establish leadership today in any one of these areas, but all three are likely a part of the future BI marketplace.

Having the vision and idea is important, but living it is critical. Unless your organization lives the vision, in product, marketing, sales and service, Chris’s keys will be exceedingly difficult to achieve. How do you tell a story connecting your vision to implementation if you haven’t done it before and your product doesn’t support it? How do you attract and nurture leads that you can close if your ideas and your product don’t align? And how can you expect sales to talk about ideas that don’t clearly align with the products they are charged to sell?

Does everyone in your organization have the same vision for the category? Are marketing, sales and product aligned? If not, you need to ensure your organization, not just your marketing, is aligned around a common idea.

Photo caption updated, thanks Robert!

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