Every sales leader needs their marketing leader to act as their wing man. At Lionbridge, Vice President of Marketing, Clint Poole is responsible for driving demand for the company’s new solution offerings. He’s also tasked with ensuring the marketing strategy is aligned with the sales strategy. And we all know how challenging that can be at times. Clint and I used the marketing strategy section of the workbook to guide our interview.
Clint explained how he approaches this challenge at Lionbridge. His well thought out process allows for maximum collaboration between marketing and sales. Which, in the end, leads to success for everyone.
Strategy and Planning
It starts with planning, specifically brand planning. “The brand promise and the entire brand story is obviously delivered as part of our capabilities presentation in every corporate power point,” says Clint. “But just putting it into a presentation doesn’t enable the sales organization to effectively deliver.” Lionbridge has avoided this classic mistake. To do this, Clint partnered with them on a training program. This program gave the reps the ability to practice, deliver and get certified. Once complete, reps can sell and deliver the brand message.
He next turned his attention to campaign planning. Does sales play a role?
“Engaging the sales team in the campaign process is essential,” he claims. In his experience, failed campaigns are due to not having the right inputs from the field. Without input from the field, your campaigns will not be aligned with your buyers.
Some questions to ask your sales team during campaign planning include:
- What are you hearing in the field?
- What are you having success with out in the field?
- What trends are you noticing from your buyers?
Another area of planning Clint focuses on is the budget. How can you make sure sales helps you generate a return on every marketing dollar spent?
“It starts with the sales organization. You need their numbers first,” he states. As a marketing team you are helping the sales organization drive their revenue. And there’s a percentage of that revenue that is going to come from marketing.
There should also be a connection point between sales and marketing when it comes to data planning. From Clint’s perspective, it’s all about keeping the data clean. How do they do this? Marketing manages the raw prospect databases outside of the CRM. This allows for the CRM to stay clean. Which means sales can better manage their lead and customer pools.
How can you generate enough demand gen and sales enablement content? And how do you make sure the sales team uses it?
Lionbridge employs several sub functions to create content through their unique lens. For example, the product marketing team creates bottom of the funnel content. And if you’re having trouble getting sales to use your content? There’s a simple fix for that. Clint recommends mapping it to the buying process. Then, and only then, will sales start using it.
The next step is the marketing org chart. Essentially, how do you integrate the marketing org chart with the sales org model?
There’s a simple way to do this. Take your marketing org chart. Put it next to your sales org chart. Do they look like each other? If not, it’s probably not going to work. Make sure your org charts line up at the critical points of integration.
What if you don’t have some of the capabilities you need in your org chart? This is where agencies come into play. “We absolutely use a variety of agencies to extend the capability of our team,” says Clint. He recommends keeping strategic capabilities in house while outsourcing the other pieces.
Sales can help with the execution of a campaign as well. Specifically, says Clint, post launch. Early stage feedback on messaging, offers, and content is essential to marketing’s ability to successfully execute campaigns.
Additionally you must think about how the product marketing team will enable sales. At Lionbridge the product marketing team is responsible for creating the materials. And they are responsible for developing customer insights via their persona work. These insights are then turned into battle cards for the sales team.
And finally, the integration between the marketing and sales teams is imperative for lead management execution. Lionbridge has a process of check-ins that ensures no leads fall through the cracks.
So, how does Lionbridge improve their marketing team’s overall effectiveness? Through marketing operations. They have two marketing ops resources. And it’s also partnered with sales ops. They even share a space in the office to foster collaboration.
Making sure marketing and sales strategies are aligned is hard work. If you’re trying to do this, the key is a well thought out methodology, just as Clint has demonstrated. As a resource, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017 and turn to the Marketing Strategy section on pages 158 – 254 of the PDF workbook.
Photo Source: U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Tom Lalor, WikiMedia Commons
Two F/A-18 Hornets assigned to the “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Zero Five (VFA-105) fly close air support (CAS) missions for coalition special operations forces in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.