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Centricity Podcast

Jul 27, 2021

On today’s episode of Aligned, Sean is rejoined by President of OHD Luke Allen to discuss the sales and marketing relationship. The two departments are often thought of as a water and oil mixture - two necessary components that don’t work well together. In today’s episode, we’re going to find out why (and how to change it.) 

It isn’t just one half of the equation - both sides miscommunicate.

  • Luke has seen marketing create imagery around a product where it doesn’t fit the audience the product is marketed towards.
  • On the other hand, Sean has seen sales staff not understand the role of marketing and the benefits marketing provides while still taking 100% attribution for the sale itself. 
  • Overall, the difficulty with sales and marketing alignment comes from sales lack of trust in marketing.

Aligning sales and marketing is a multi-step process. But how can you start?

  • The first step is a common understanding of the way the consumer goes through their buyer’s journey, and then creating a common language between sales and marketing.
  • Marketing gets thrown under the bus if something doesn’t work out, but marketing has a critical role in moving potential customers through the initial stages of a pipeline without sales having to interact.

Developing communication doesn’t have to be challenging.

  • You can categorize the strain between sales and marketing and two big camps: economic and cultural.
  • The two functions attract very different types of people - marketing attracts an intellectual or “creative” person. In contrast, the salesperson is the chameleon able to be molded into whatever they need to be.
  • One way to create marketing and sales alignment is to have shared revenue and attribution in early stage goals. Get the groups together to determine the goals, KPIs, and how those goals will be tracked. 

Sean’s secret? Don’t undervalue marketing.

  • Imagine a company has one million dollars to invest in its sales and marketing. Typically, you’ll see sales get 80-90% while marketing is left with 10-20%. If you flip those numbers, do you think sales could perform with only 10% of its budget? 
  • You can't undervalue something and then be surprised when they aren’t able to do much.
  • Overcome this hurdle by implementing incrementalism. If you start with $100,000 to achieve a specific result, that then allows you to go back and ask for $200,000 next time. And then $300,000. 

Different types of marketing and sales relationships:

  • Undefined group - smaller companies who don’t even think about how sales and marketing work together.
  • Aligned sales and marketing group - companies with defined boundaries but with joint planning sessions that create a shared language. 
  • The highest level is a revenue and operations group - fully integrated, breaking down the silos of sales and marketing and structures everything within one unit.

Sean and Luke’s advice to executives and working professionals:

  • Begin measuring some of the hard questions discussed in the episode, like your marketing/sales split. 
  • Marketing should get out of the office. Get them in front of customers to learn fresh perspectives and thoughts they would never know otherwise.
  • Look at your budget from the customer journey perspective and see how much you’re allocating for each stage in the customer’s journey.

Episode Resources:

  • Aligned is a podcast for executives of emerging middle-market companies; executives who are pursuing growth and looking for new levers to pull. 
  • Read more about cognitive marketing on FitzMartin’s website.
  • Order Sean’s book Shift.
  • To connect with Sean Doyle, find him on LinkedIn, or learn more about FitzMartin on the company web page
  • You can also connect with Luke Allen on LinkedIn.