There is no more important partnership for a B2B company than the one between sales and marketing. These two functions drive much of the growth of the company in tandem with the product team. Their alignment must be exact and often, it just isn’t. The friction from misaligned sales and marketing slows the company, frustrates everyone and wastes precious resources.

Having spent 25 years as both a sales and marketing executive, I’ve noticed a few common causes of misalignment and in this two part series, I hope to make it easier for Sales Leaders to understand their Marketing counterparts and then for Marketing Leaders to understand their Sales partners.

#1 – Single-point attribution is nonsense for enterprise B2B

Single point attribution is nonsense

  • Unless you’re selling something cheap, people don’t buy the first time they hear about it.
  • It’s impossible to measure the impact of each marketing touchpoint.
  • Single-point attribution makes you undervalue key campaign elements.
  • INSTEAD OF ATTRIBUTION, marketers should correlate experiments with increases in win rates, sales velocity, and prices.

#2 – Attribution is used best for making directional adjustments

Measure impact of marketing content and programs on wins and revenue over time

In B2B enterprise software, attribution is not for pinpointing precise strategies. To use attribution properly:

  1. Learn whether we acquired the customers we wanted
  2. A/B test each variable (target, offer, form, timing) to see how much the desired market engages
  3. Double down on the strategies that improve customer acquisition costs and acquisition rate with acceptable spend

#3 – Creating simple and compelling content takes time

  • Long or short? Pictures or not? These choices require experimentation.
  • Each audience has its own preferences.
  • Expect research, analysis, and iteration.

#4 – “Marketing” is really more than a half-dozen functions with different skills

  1. Demand Gen (or Growth Marketing) uses analytical tools to increase sales qualified opportunities by iterating on campaigns, technologies, and ads.
  2. Product Marketing informs your sales stories and audience-facing content through messaging, packaging, pricing and differentiation.
  3. Content Managers ensure the right content in the right form reaches the right audience.
  4. Marketing Communications pushes your messaging and stories to the press.
  5. Customer Marketing keeps customers aware of innovation and momentum in ways that provide them value.
  6. Event coordinators juggle thousands of details (from shipping and logistics to team appearance) to ensure an experience is exciting, professional, and on-brand.
  7. RevOps (the merger of Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, CS Ops) – the masters of the data and systems ensuring that you use automation effectively, your data is accurate and useful, and that you leverage your people for work only they can do.

#5 – Modern Marketers are data masters

  • Their insights and trends can help sales close.
  • But they need a “ closed loop” – all the information must be in the CRM.
  • My rule: if it’s not in the CRM, it doesn’t exist.  Marketing leverages technology to understand the customer.

#6 – Marketing data is for direction, not determination

When you hear a statistic, always understand what was asked:

  • Was that the right target, offer, and time?
  • Was the content compelling to customers?
  • Does it help clients with their purchasing decision?

If all the answers are YES and they still didn’t engage, you’re deluding yourself. There’s a product market-fit problem, a lack of differentiation or you are off in your targeting. Fix those problems in partnership with marketing and product – and your marketing will produce.

Next up – what do MARKETERS need to know about SALES!