Many of you are deep into your annual sales planning process. This year, we’ve worked with a number of you to get this completed.


A common trend is emerging. Sales Leaders do not have enough leads to get to their number next year. Even more concerning is the lack of marketing knowledge many Sales Leaders possess. A recent quote from a Sales Leader of a $1B B2B technology company.


“Marketing is the most important thing for my company. I am familiar with the basics but there are some blind spots.”


You Are Not Alone

Many of your peers struggle to understand marketing. When we fail to understand, confusion turns to frustration.


For example, when lead flow becomes an issue, it’s a bottom-line proposition. Either we have them, or we don’t. Very little time is spent on “why” which causes friction with your Marketing peer. That’s their job to figure it out.


While this may be true, you own the revenue number. When it gets missed, you’re in the CEO’s office, not Marketing. Lack of understanding is no longer acceptable when the number gets missed.


How You Can Learn More

By now you’re well aware of SBI’s annual report and workshop for Sales Leaders. This year, we’re also offering a similar report and workshop for Marketing


If you’ve read the Sales report, you have learned about sales strategy best practices. What are your peers doing differently to make the number in 2015? Things like:


  • Improving the annual revenue and budget planning process.
  • Leveraging social prospecting to generate leads for Sales.
  • Organizing to attack markets more effectively.


The Marketing report explores strategic best practices from your peers you should consider. If you’re looking to learn more about marketing strategy, this is a good start. It’s an unbiased look at how world class B2B Marketers run their business.


An Opportunity for Transparency

Once you’ve read the report, you are going to have questions. You’ll likely have a few ideas as well.


  • Why isn’t our Marketing team doing _____?
  • Should we consider ______ for next year?
  • Can Sales help with ______?
  • How can I get my Marketing peer on board with this?


If you’ve participated in our workshop, you completed the sales strategy checklist. A similar checklist exists for the marketing workshop. It’s specific to marketing strategy.


Pass along the report and checklist to your Marketing peer. Allow him or her a chance to read the report and complete the checklist. Then, set up a half day offsite to review your checklists together. Nothing breeds transparency like a review of your strategies.


Some Ideas on an Agenda:

If you decide to do this, you’ll want to come prepared so it’s productive. Here are a few ideas to get you started.


  • What did each of you do well this year, and why?
  • What challenges did each of you have, and why?
  • What’s the plan to address those challenges next year?
  • What areas are well aligned on your checklist (ie mostly “yes” answers)?
  • What areas are not well aligned (ie mostly “no”)?
  • Are there similarities or differences based on your checklists?
    • If there are differences, explore these further.


  • Are you going to make the number next year?
    • If yes, how will you do it with certainty?
    • If no, what can you two do today to impact and change this?


  • What is the cadence to review progress next year (ie QBR, monthly review)?
  • How will you hold each other accountable to the commitments?


Take this opportunity to look objectively at your business with your most important peer.  Without the help of Marketing, your chances of making the number next year are slim.


You can ignore this or embrace it. Those who are embracing it will make the number. Their strategies expose blind spots and allow them to take action. With the New Year approaching, now is the time to take the next step.