I'm still speaking with a lot of B2B marketers who draw a hard line in the sand at the sales handoff. Each time I hear the disinterest and see them disengage, I cringe a bit. Well, a lot. Comments vary, but often include flavors of:
- It's not my job.
- Our sales team is dysfunctional.
- They can write their own emails.
- We're sending over quality leads, what more do they want?
- They don't want us touching their leads after they accept them, so why should we care what they do next?
- What they do on their side has nothing to do with what we do on ours.
Seriously? And we wonder why alignment between the two disciplines is still on the table year after year? Not to put all the blame on marketers, but I'd like to point out that this stance is doing you more harm than good. Perhaps even career-damaging harm.
Think about it. I've seen companies survive without marketing, but I've never seen one survive without sales.
If a marketing department has the attitude expressed by the bullets above, I'd pretty much bet you that the company position about the two departments is a version of:
Sales produces revenues. Marketing spends it.
Marketers who are not helping their roles/departments to be seen as a valuable contributor to the revenue cycle are not thinking very clearly about their futures.
A number of ripple effects take place when B2B marketers insert the hard stop at the sales handoff:
- Insight to leads is lost
- Impact of marketing efforts is not fully known or validated
- Marketing gets no/less credit for won deals
- Sales messaging is probably telling a different story
- Brand confusion is imminent
- Salespeople are creating their own content
- Salespeople are likely restarting leads rather than stepping into the dialogue that's already in action.
When marketers remove themselves from the sales process, they're maintaining a self-focused perspective that narrows the big picture, leaving gaps that can undo the relationships with buyers that they've worked hard to build.
With buyers self-educating and admittedly holding sales at arm's length during a longer period of their buying process, the transition to person-to-person conversation is even more important than it's ever been. It needs to be seamless, stay relevant and continue forward progress. If sales is stopping that momentum to get up to speed, buyers will quickly lose patience and move on.
However, if marketing works collaboratively with sales to design content that keeps the story unfolding after sales steps in, then chances of success increase. Meeting expectations when your buyers know more about your company than, well, maybe your salespeople do, means the orchestration of the handoff becomes a critical component.
What companies fail to recognize is that it's not about about marketing vs. sales. It's about your buyer's choice to continue with your company or cut you from their short list. Why would you want to give them any reason to do the latter?
An even better question marketers should figure out how to answer is what you'll do if contribution to revenues begins to figure into your compensation plan. That's a trend gaining steam...