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