Shut up and sell!

[Posted by Mike Scher July 14, 2015]

Oh no, not another article about bridging the gap between sales and marketing!

I recently saw that LinkedIn has surpassed 1 billion posts!   One would imagine that talking about getting sales and marketing to play nice in the sandbox is one of the most written about topics.

Most of these posts talk about service level agreements, creating definitions, lead passes etc.

When you look at why the gap exists it all comes down to sales and marketing wrestling over the definition and the quality of this thing called a “lead”.

The solutions usually involve marketing acquiescing to the whims of sales.

This may sound strange coming from a CEO who is a ‘dyed in the wool’ sales guy (in fact many people call me a “selling” CEO), but the fact remains – the gap exists . . . and it is about time that sales starts taking a lot more responsibility.

For this process to work there needs to be an open line of communication. I hear a lot of sales guys bellyache about marketing.   They complain that marketing is ‘not doing their job’ and ‘the leads suck’.

So sales guys . . . here is a little advice . . . stop your whining!   Nobody promised you a boatload of leads. If they did, shame on them.   The reality is you get paid a lot of money to sell. If you are looking for a fully baked lead that is ready to buy, why does your company need you?

Selling is hard. Those that are good at it get paid handsomely.

Marketing is there to make it easier for you; not do your job for you. You need to realize that you are better off WITH marketing than WITHOUT.

All that said, here are three things YOU can do to help marketing, help you.

  1. Provide timely feedback – Imagine you get a lead from marketing. You follow-up with the lead and enter into a sales cycle. You pursue the deal for 6 weeks and realize the initiative has been scrapped. 2 weeks after that, you mark the lead as ‘unqualified’.   How disingenuous! That lead was fully qualified, otherwise, why did you spend 6 weeks with them? Marketing is not responsible for your sales cycle. They deserve feedback as soon as possible.
  2. Provide constructive feedback – providing cryptic notes or short responses like “not interested” or “not a fit” doesn’t help marketing help you. Be as specific and detailed as possible. Let marketing know WHY it wasn’t a fit. Have you ever thought the reason was because you as the sales person – weren’t very good at transferring belief? . . .just sayin’.
  3. Be realistic – It’s easy to say “marketing sucks”.   It takes effort to understand a marketplace and define a good ‘lead’ for you. I bet many of you would take any appointment with a VP of (fill in your preferred domain here) even if it wasn’t ‘qualified’.   If that were to happen, you should be buying your marketing team drinks because that VP is likely to have the business issues you solve.   If you don’t uncover the issues, that’s on you!

Marketers certainly aren’t perfect, but they aren’t the enemy. You are all on the same team. My best advice is you recognize it, take responsibility for your part of the equation and communicate, communicate, communicate!

Happy Selling!

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