SiriusDecisions’ B2B Sales and Marketing: Forging a New Alliance was an impressive event last week, and I was glad to have the opportunity to attend. Between companies sharing their own cases on sales and marketing alignment and the planning frameworks, examples and data from SiriusDecisions analysts, it was a three day information firehouse.
Underlying the content I saw a common thread: sales and marketing needs to serve prospective customers. Here is my view on how a service attitude towards prospective customers underlies three of the key messages from SiriusDecisions.
Aligning Sales and Marketing
A major element of sales and marketing alignment is establishing how a prospect is handed from marketing to sales, when they return to marketing, and ensuring nurturing communications use the most relevant communication. This isn’t about operations and process though, it is about serving prospective customers through their entire buying process. An organization aligned on serving will not leave a prospective customer languishing in the abyss between sales and marketing.
Extend Alignment to Product Management and Development
This should be obvious, however according to Marisa Kopeck of SiriusDecisions, many organizations have a product-focused management and development organization while they are attempting to shift to a solution-focused sales and marketing model. The entire product development and delivery organization needs to be focused on delivering solutions to customer pain points or needs. When the organization is focused on the problems and pains for customers it is solving, alignment will naturally follow.
Effective Content Marketing
As Jay Gaines of SiriusDecisions said, “Despite being King, content is often treated like a peasant.” Content is at the heart of how marketing serves. Marketing delivers information, answers questions, provokes thoughts and sparks ideas with content. A clear focus on serving our future customers throughout their research and buying process aligns the organization around delivering customer focused content.
My biggest takeaway from the conference is get to know and start serving your audience. Align sales, marketing, product management and development on serving customer needs and meeting them on their terms. By focusing on the customer, a position no one is likely to disagree with, your organization will be aligned.