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2 Simple Ideas for Living 'Boringly' in 2011

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Jan 06, 2011

Over the holiday break, I read a fantastic piece from Craig Rosenberg aka The Funnelholic called: 2011: The Year of Living Boringly (I Hope).

Craig lays out the case:

“From 2008 to 2010, it was basically a “content bubble” for marketers. All of us in the blogosphere have been riding high; talking about lead scoring, lead nurturing, content marketing, social media, sales and marketing alignment. So much sizzle and sexiness, it’s been a fantastical ride as marketers ate it up. Everyone in the world of marketing had endless new toys to talk about, and talk we did. But now, marketers must live boringly. Not to be a sensationalist, but our survival is at stake.”

His advice, almost a plea really, is “focus on execution and how to get it done, or said another way: Stop talking about it and just do it.”

This got me thinking about another ‘riding high blogosphere’ topic: Sales & Marketing alignment. I thought I would share a few thoughts around effectively executing alignment to the benefit of Inside Sales.

So here are my 2 suggestions for living “boringly” in 2011:

  • Storytelling
  •  Huddles

I warned you they would be boring, but try not to dismiss my low-tech, touchy-feely approach just yet.

1) Storytelling

Storytelling is great way to share information. Internal storytelling is a powerful way to share & embrace ideas.

For example, when Inside Sales does post-download calling, “following up” or “touching base” after a prospect “expressed interest” betrays a lack of internal storytelling.  If Inside Sales aren’t shown the connection between:

  • what is going on in their Buyers’ worlds
  • what help a content/offer promises to deliver
  • what responding to a campaign says about a Buyers day-to-day priorities

This lack of storytelling leads to less connects, fewer conversations & lower conversions.

Similarly, Marketing needs Inside Sales to share the post-campaign calling story as well. There has to be more to the Marketing / Inside Sales dialogue than: “the leads were good/sucked” or “my dashboard reports show we sourced 7 new opportunities from this campaign.”

This lack of storytelling leads to marketing in isolation and reliance on first order questions. As Marketers we spend countless hours researching, surveying (and often internet stalking) our buyers. But right across the office are a team of people who talk to our buyers all day, 5 days a week. They definitely have stories to tell, so why don’t we ask them to share?

2) Huddles

Agile software development is entering its second decade. Agile marketing is still in its infancy. One of the simplest and highest value ideas that can be taken from agile is huddling – also known as stand-up meetings, roll-calls, scrums, etc.

Huddles are brief, frequent (daily at a maximum) meetings with the whole team for quick status updates. During a Marketing campaign follow-up, for example, the team includes Inside Sales, the group’s manager & the marketing folks.

Huddle frequency
Here’s a simple plan:

  • Day 1 -
    Marketing rolls out the campaign details and tells the story
    Inside Sales asks questions to make calling most effective
  • Day 3 -
    Inside Sales reports on initial results
    Marketing commits to deliver additional resources as requested by Inside Sales
  • Days 6 & 10 -
    Teams update ‘where are we’, identity obstacles & commit to assistance
  • Day 14
    Teams debrief with storytelling, share results & make future commitments

I know that personally, I’ve never committed to this level of alignment (yet!), but think of the possibilities.

How often is a campaigned poisoned at the water cooler when a Rep complains that the “leads are crap”? Does Inside Sales always know how to best disposition non-connects / no interests / etc.? Is Marketing heading down a campaign path without Sales’ real-world experiences from the last one?

So if you really want to execute Sales & Marketing alignment, live boringly and implement storytelling & huddles. These approaches are simple, but you might reap big rewards.

What other easy steps can you share that will have Sales & Marketing teams focused on execution?  I’d really love to hear them. Let’s live boringly folks!

(Photo credit: vasta & martin fowler)

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This is not boring at all. Sales 2.0 is all about accelerated QUALITY activity that produces superior results. The single most important advancement in the last three years for me has been the combination of Sales & Marketing into SMARKETING. The best thing you can do for your sales team is to generate more qualified leads of folks who are looking for you.

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 8:23 AM by Dan Tyre

Hi Matt 
Well done. Nothing is more exciting than good results. Three things you mention that are of vital importance to an organization: 
a. knowing what's going on in the buyer's world 
b. leveraging What their responses to various campaign efforts should be telling us 
c. daily huddles with internal sales and marketing teams 
First, good conversations (ones that lead to winning deals) are predicated on what I call context marketing. In other words: why should they care? Unless we know what they value and we are aligned with their priorities, our efforts to do business with them will be irrelevant and a waste of our time and money. 
Second, and this is coming up more and more lately among colleagues, is reporting sales and marketing results using metrics that matter to the C-suite. The term "revenue performance marketing" has been recently coined to describe a unified report card that measures end-to-end results from lead gen to close and in some cases, to referrals. Instead of measuring lead scores and click counts, it looks at cost per opportunity. This eliminates the chasm between sales and marketing as they are both compensated for the same goals. As one friend puts it: we should design metrics that quantify our best customers and ensure our sales/marketing is focused on finding and closing more of them. 
Thirdly, any business that is not engaged in focused daily communication between sales and marketing is leaving money on the table. BTW - having people stand up for meetings is a good way to make sure they don't run long! At Cabletron Systems there were no chairs in the meeting rooms, just a bar-height table. Never attended a meeting more than 20 minutes! 
Don F Perkins

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 12:20 PM by Don F Perkins

@Dan - Thanks for the comment. 
@Don - I really like "context marketing." Consider that one stolen (with attribution of course).  
Regarding huddling, I am committing to more frequent communication and less automatically emailed dashboards/reports in 2011. I've been as guilty as anyone in focusing on technology and ignoring the story. I need to change that ASAP.

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 12:34 PM by Matt Bertuzzi

Why is it that we in this game forget about the magic "R" word...Revenue!  
I asked a marketing director, "What is the goal of marketing?" The answer included all sorts of things like "Build brand awareness" and "Generate leads." Not once did I hear the word Revenue. Sales and marketing (and the rest of the business for that matter) need to take a step back from their defined roles and technology to remember every so often what it's all about: Revenue!

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 2:29 PM by Steve Richard

Matt, I particularly like your suggestions about storytelling, and the role of Inside Sales. Marketers are catching on that the "sales cycle" is now a "buying cycle" with the buyer in control. We are creating buyer personas to model our stories for the buyers who will read and hear them. When a buyer engages, they validate the story. Then, Inside Sales isn't just "touching base," they are "joining that story in progress." Huddles between Inside Sales and Marketing are a great idea for keeping the story moving--to a closed deal.

posted @ Friday, January 07, 2011 8:53 AM by Paul McKeon

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