Marketing and Sales: Done Well (2015) Do Better (2016) - Part 1 of 3

Posted by Dan McDade

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on Jan 8, 2016 11:30:00 AM

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done_well_do_better_1_of_3.jpgThis is the first in a series of three blogs about what experts feel companies did well in 2015 and what they would do better in 2016. In all there have been ten editions of PowerOpinions over the past couple of years and I think this one is a great way to start 2016. The panelists include:


Ardath Albee – Marketing Interactions

Miles Austin – Fill the Funnel, Inc

Jeffrey Hayzlett – The C-Suite Network

Dave Kurlan – Objective Management Group

Matt Heinz – Heinz Marketing

Mike Weinberg – New Sales Coach

… plus I pulled some additional comments pulled from Mikogo’s Sales Trends & Challenges in 2016 – 12 Experts Share Their Predictions (I am one of the experts).


Today we will hear from Ardath and Miles:


Ardath Albee

Founder of Marketing Interactions talks about alignment and relevance.


What did B2B companies do well in marketing & sales in 2015?

Many B2B marketers became more purposeful. They started to address the lack of performance that has resulted from simply publishing content without a strategy behind their efforts. I see many making the effort to take a more customer centric approach, however the lack of consistency and collaboration across marketing functions continues to limit success. This said, I see examples of brilliance here and there. But these remain one-off efforts, rather than a consistent execution of content marketing in practice.


On the sales side, I’m seeing more enablement efforts from marketing to help salespeople understand the content being developed and how to use it effectively in sales prospecting and conversations. But it’s also limited. I still encounter companies where marketing isn’t allowed to speak with sales. I don’t understand this division of two of the top assets of any company.


What can they do better in 2016?

Doing better in 2016 is all about relevance—for both marketing and sales. Becoming more relevant is critical to generating committed demand. Drive-by encounters that spawn vanity metrics are just not good enough. Building productive relationships requires that we extend the effort to meet our buyers and customers based on context that brings meaningful experiences and conversations.


Developing personas is one way to get the insights needed to do so. And, obviously, content will be required for both marketing and sales efforts. It’s what’s reflected in the content and the story companies tell that will either help them succeed or help them go unnoticed in the ever increasing flood of noise that our buyers and customers encounter every day.


With everything marketing and sales teams do, the rule should be to ask, “Will this be relevant to my audience?” before any effort or resources are expended. The next question is “What will it lead to that this audience cares about?” And keep asking… This is the mentality needed to build a progressive content marketing program.


And it’s also a mentality that salespeople can use to build conversations with buyers and customers. If marketing and sales collaborate on these questions, they’ll be more successful in creating end-to-end engagement that creates committed demand and drives revenues.


Note from Dan: As Ardath points out, it is beyond frustrating that marketing and sales don’t “get along.” As marketing becomes more accountable for revenue AND pushes further into the sales process (especially as companies adopt Account-Based Marketing strategies), alignment will be table stakes and those clinging to outdated models will suffer.


Miles Austin

The founder of Fill the Funnel, Inc. is all about social, analytics, and hiring the right team.


What did B2B companies do well in marketing & sales in 2015?

B2B companies now understand that social media platforms are not a fad that will pass any time soon, but rather a key toolset to engage prospects and customers at every stage of their journey. The debate of whether Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn strategies and execution should be a key part of the sales & marketing conversation is over. Movement of significant portions of the marketing budget are moving into social media to capture mindshare and awareness via advertising, re-targeting, content-distribution, thought leadership, and customer relations and retention.


What can they do better in 2016?

Organizations need to integrate data analytics and predictive analytics expertise into their marketing and sales structure. Recruiting talent in these areas has become extremely competitive, and the cost to hire and retain key talent will prove challenging. In addition, further focus on testing/measurement of marketing effectiveness can yield valuable insight and guide efforts with a much higher return. 2016 will be a year when the “science” of sales and marketing will achieve equal footing with the “art” of those professions.


Note from Dan: I really like the last sentence of Miles’ response. Science in measurement of marketing effectiveness will help keep marketing accountable and push them to collaborate and cooperate with sales. A disconnect for me is that in my opinion social media is not as effective in enterprise/strategic sales as it is in B2C or more commoditized B2B. Comments?


Tell us what you think!

Topics: B2B Marketing

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