I recently read the book Revenue Disruption by Phil Fernandez, the CEO of Marketo. It was a good read, and quite entertaining in places. As a marketing professional I felt very aligned with the evolution of marketing strategy and techniques described in the book.
Specifically the notion of marketing and sales alignment caught my attention because my friend and author herself Christine Crandell has been talking about for years. Here is a link to an interesting article she wrote in Forbes describing ways of measuring marketing and sales alignment. Christine was quoted in the book BTW and was interviewed by Phil on the Marketo blog back in 2010.
As you might have guessed, I wholeheartedly agree with both Phil and Christine’s thinking and viewpoints. Marketing and Sales have to be aligned in order for an organization to scale. Those who have worked with and for me will attest that I measure and track every dollar spent by Marketing, and how it relates back to revenue-generated.
I am also a great believer in “walking a mile in someones shoes”, not just because you’ll be a mile away from them and you’ll also have their shoes. When I joined RainStor, my current company, in addition to traditional marketing activities, I took on the role of developing business and partnerships looking to OEM or resell our database. I was fortunate to find, develop and nurture a major alliance with Dell, but I also took on quota to sell. I was able to work with Dell field reps in jointly selling, deliver technical presentations, architecture discussions and ultimately the pricing, contract negotiation all the way to close.
Obviously as anyone already in sales knows, it ain’t easy! I know I’ve been guilty (and jealous) like many looking at top salespeople who pull in big $$ with large deals, and thinking that really is a piece of cake. Now having not only “carried a bag” but also faced all of the obstacles: political, financial, competitive, roadmap needs, prospect re-org, unreasonable terms and more, I am now in a much better place to provide the content, service, leads and support to the great men and women of this country that proudly go out and SELL SELL SELL!
If you are in marketing and have never been in sales, you need to at least make a point of accompanying a sales person (if they will let you) on some calls. Or truly listen to them when they have an issue that they need help with. If you are doing your best, and your executive management is bought into marketing and sales alignment, their cries for help out in the field should be respected and it’s your job to help. In this brave new world that Phil and Christine have articulated so well, we are all in it together to generate revenue, that’s the only way the company can succeed.