article | August 13, 2012
B2B Marketing Leaders – How to Build Credibility with Sales Right Now
Critically consider the following:
If you answered yes to more than one of these statements, then a gap of credibility exists. This blog provides a proven model to build credibility with the sales leader. Start by forwarding the self-evaluation below to your peer in sales.
Self-Evaluation for Sales Leaders
It’s common for the senior sales leader to dismiss Marketing contributions. Sometimes it’s deserved. But isn’t that the equivalent of eating your own young? In today’s evolved buying process you need Marketing to give you support in the early stage of the buying process. You need a robust lead generation program.
If you answered yes to one or more, then meet with your marketing peer to discuss.
Strategic Model to Build Credibility with Sales
This is a proven model from the practice of strategic consulting. Whether fair or not, marketers have to address a chasm of credibility further widened by false perceptions. This approach provides a method to bridge the gap through actions.
LEVEL 1 – TACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION
Fundamental execution is the foundation of excellence. Success requires under-promising and over-delivering consistently.
You can rely on a department that reliably meets expectations. There is no trust in a
marketing department that performs inconsistently. Under-delivery is death.
Consider the marketing agencies that support you today. Is their participation in strategic planning diminished when they fail in day-to-day execution? No one accepts strategy from an unreliable source.
Don’t get sideways by thinking this step is punitive. Forget the unfair perceptions. This is about establishing basic trust. Think about the last time the sales leader had a tough quarter. Was the sales leader held accountable? You bet. When the sales leader looks across the table does he see someone held to the same level of accountability? Probably not. This first step is about voluntarily increasing accountability to bridge the gap.
The sales leader regularly inspects progress of quota attainment across the sales force. Marketing leaders must inspect the execution of sales support requests. Expect what you inspect.
In addition to simply executing, b2b marketing teams must respond collaboratively. Your team must:
Elitist staff members who don’t want to collaborate with Sales should go away. There is no room in a B2B marketing team for this nonsense.
Credibility with Sales is established with consistent execution. Trust is built. Sales confidence in marketing is strengthened with each successful deliverable.
LEVEL 2 – SOLUTIONS PROVIDER
Proven execution of tactics matures into collaborative plans to grow the business. With a relationship of trust, the Sales team will begin involving Marketing at a deeper level.
Your next step is active participation in the Revenue Lifecycle. Sales is pressed by today’s evolved buying process. Prospects at early stages are avoiding sales reps. Sales reps are struggling with being brought in late to the buying process.
Marketing must evolve into a direct role in the revenue lifecycle.
Participation in efforts tied to revenue results in significant credibility gains. Marketing develops the capability to prove a return. Marketing becomes accountable to a % of pipeline opportunities. Contributing real pipeline opportunities establishes an essential role in the revenue lifecycle of your company.
The sales leader trusts Marketing to deliver. Marketing has a direct impact on revenue.
LEVEL 3 – STRATEGIC PARTNER
B2B Marketing Leaders bring about frustration for their team by attempting to go straight to this level. Expecting Sales to engage in a strategic partnership because they ‘should’ is the hardest path to pursue. First build trust. Drive it deep. With the first two levels of the foundation in place it becomes natural to collaborate as a strategic partner.
The marketing and sales leaders begin to seek each other out to collaborate. The marketing leader involves their team with ‘in-quarter’ activities to help Sales advance opportunities.
The company benefits from collaboration at a strategic level that helps drive business objectives. Gone are the days of perceived marketing mayhem. Marketing has arrived.
You’re on an equal footing with your peer the sales leader. They trust you. The sales team trusts the marketing team. A true partnership has been established based on performance.
Key Takeaways: 1. Build a foundation of trust through consistent execution, 2. Build credibility with Sales by participating in revenue generation activities, and 3. Leverage success to carve out a strategic partnership.