Is marketing innovating while sales is selling like it’s 1990?

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In Q4, I resolved to ask the senior sales and origination leaders of our newly on-boarded clients the same two questions.

  • What is inbound marketing?
  • What is content marketing?

The answers, God love ‘em, were awful. They didn’t really know. As I continued to present the value of and importance of these concepts, they became excited about the possibilities and the future. Exciting, but alarming at the same time.

It demonstrated what I believe is a growing gap between sales and marketing in many organizations. It wasn’t as much that they didn’t understand the buzzword that bothered me, it was that they didn’t really intuitively identify with the concepts. How, as a senior sales leader, are you not at least a little aware that marketing is getting more qualified people to come to you as opposed to you going to them—leading to more time actually selling?

So I asked them to describe the average sales day of a better than average sales person. Here were the top 3 activities:

  • Reach out to referral sources and ask for referrals monthly
  • Evaluate their database weekly and make at least 20 cold calls per week
  • Have 4-6 in person visits a week

While we acknowledge the time-honored pillars of sales…this was shocking to me.

The last several years have led to major marketing revolutions. Hubspot, Pardot, Eloqua, Marketo and more are offering tremendous technology driven innovations in the client nurturing/demand generation process. And while this growth comes from many factors, it is clear that the rapid advances of information at the fingertips of prospects and advances in technology have forever changed how decision makers make decisions.

But as more and more sales organizations are adopting these and other platforms, they have purchased a Bentley and cannot fuel it. The evolution of content marketing and how it feeds these systems is still pretty formative. As a result, we see clients paying huge money to acquire these platforms only to be using them for batch and blast email campaigns that they execute poorly and inconsistently. What a waste. So why?

Obviously companies underestimate the amount of time, investment, expertise to generate the content streams and channels of delivery to make these platforms hum and drive real ROI. And when they discover it, many don’t even know how to fill the gap. Is there a real commitment to make it work among these sales teams?

I think as marketers, we need to keep pushing the innovation of course, but maybe do a better job of speaking the language of our sales teams. And sales teams have to lose the paradox mentality of “I don’t have time” or “marketing efforts don’t lead to sales”. The world has changed for sure and in a great way, but even though the technology is built for better sales and marketing integration…getting the buy in to actually connect with each other is still a gorilla in the corner of the room.

If you wanna chat about how to fuel your demand generation platform or better integrate sales and marketing…give us a holler.

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