Pipeline to the Frontline: Integration & Alignment of Marketing & Sales
Moderator: Mikio Haruna, Special Correspondent • Kyodo News
Simone Wheeler, Marketing Director, Asia Pacific • Factiva
Jeremy Cooper, VP Marketing, Asia Pacific • Salesforce.com
Charles Nikiel, Senior Director, Regional Marketing • Symantec
The traditional, somewhat antagonistic relationship between the marketing and sales operations at global enterprises is at an important inflection point. For years, businesses have suffered from a seemingly irreconcilable gap between their marketing and sales teams—a gap that undermines the most important competitive competencies companies must nurture to gain a market advantage. Those competencies, including competitive intelligence, product innovation and lifecycle management, lead generation and conversion, as well as customer value building and retention, are crucial cross-functional skills that businesses can’t afford to neglect. And yet, many organizations are still trapped with a system of functional silos that are struggling to understand and integrate with each other.
Marketers see themselves as lacking influence and credibility within sales organizations, and they see sales teams as self-serving and short sighted. Marketers believe sales groups and channels often undermine the effectiveness of cohesive and consistent messaging and branding and fail to leverage the prospect pipeline created by integrated, demand generation campaigns. Sales organizations view themselves as indispensable, and they see marketers as ivory-tower strategists out of touch with the real world of customer acquisition and revenue generation. Sales teams believe that marketers don’t understand the customer, the product, or how to effectively support sales efforts. In many ways, and in many companies, they’re both right.
Although marketing and sales integration continues to grow in importance, and nearly everyone recognizes its value, the effectiveness of current efforts seems often unbalanced. An effective approach to integration must address the growing importance of software solutions and hosted services for marketing, sales and channel alignment, productivity and performance. There is also a vital need for marketing to improve sales effectiveness by helping to:
- Establish a highly qualified and predisposed funnel of opportunities
- Harvest greater value from customer interactions and strategic selling situations
- Reduce or compress complex customer consideration and close cycles
- Further penetrate existing accounts or reactivate dormant relationships
- Address human factors that often hinder sales and marketing collaboration