“You Can’t Catch Water With A Fist”

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 18, 2011 9:45:00 AM

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Little Girl Making Fist

James Obermayer, Executive Director and CEO of the Sales Lead Management Association and President of Sales Leakage Consulting is a regular guest blogger with ViewPoint.

JoJo Jensen’s quote from Dirt Farmer’s Wisdomi, “You can’t catch water with a fist,” is especially true in the conflict between sales and marketing. I am particularly struck by her thought that you must be open-handed and open-minded to accomplish almost anything in life.

The differences between marketing and sales often escalate into complaints and whining, accusations and finger pointing. When the arguments are distilled into facts without emotion the two seem to want a better relationship, but many can’t unclench their fists long enough to cooperate.

Marketing people say,

“They don’t give me any credit. (Translated: Nobody loves me)”

“Salespeople never follow-up the leads.”  

“They won’t use the CRM system.”

“We never find out why we lose sales.”

“They never close out the leads to tell us who bought.”

“Their idea of a quality lead has a PO attached to it.”

Salespeople say,

“I’ve never made a sale from a lead.”

”They give me lots of inquiries, but no leads.” 

“Those leads are just competitors, students and prisoners.” 

“The CRM system is time consuming and doesn’t help me, just them.”

“You’d think I’d get some leads, I have quotas, but noooo.”

“They misunderstood me, I don’t need more inquiries, I need more qualified leads!”

Jim Obermayer QuoteWith all of these clenched fists, it’s amazing anything gets sold at a reasonable cost of sales and marketing. If salespeople ignore 75%-90% of the inquiries sent to them, the cost of sales and marketing is artificially inflated by 75%-90%.

The salespeople that cold-call waste time contacting hundreds of people to find a few buyers instead of relentlessly pursuing marketing provided inquires and leads (48% of the salespeople give up after the first call). Marketing spends creative time, talent and money to find the most likely buyers that are ignored by sales; it’s an old story with a high cost of sales ending.

Unclenched fists

Someone has to give in and unclench their fists and the only way I know of is that marketing must unclench first.

Marketing’s sole function is to create wealth for the company. They must create yearly lead generation and branding plans based on a sales forecast, tune their programs to serve sales quotas (the forecast) and prove the ROI beyond a reasonable doubt. They must create demand which is broken into:

  1. Jim Obermayer QuoteBranding: Long term, less immediately measureable, but required. No direct sales cooperation necessary.
  2. Lead Generation: Short term, an 18 month window, very measurable, and requires cooperation from salespeople, management and indispensible tools: CRM and Marketing Automation software.
  3. Lead Management Rules: A one page list of rules holding both departments accountable to each other. 100% accountability, 100% follow-up.

My recommendation? Unclench your fists and start cooperating before the C-Level finds team members who can work together.

JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom Boston, MA : Red Wheel, 2002.

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Topics: Marketing & Sales Alignment, Marketing Strategy

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