A New Approach to Marcom Planning: Invite Sales to the Process

B2B Marcom Budgeting

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve been participating in a few discussions on LinkedIn and elsewhere on ways we can improve the relationship between Marketing and Sales.  A lot of good ideas have been passed around, most focusing on improving the dialogue between the groups so they work in unison toward the ultimate goal of selling more stuff to more people.  Rocket science, I know.

So, as we all work on our 2011 sales projections and marketing plans, it seems like now is an appropriate time to start this dialogue.  If you don’t have a process to make this happen, don’t worry, the LinkedIn discussions would indicate you aren’t alone.  A while back, I wrote about steps Marketing could take to improve the lead development process, which included getting input from Sales.  A lot of this would apply here too.  But even before going this far, a simple gesture like asking someone in Sales if someone from Marketing could accompany them on a call might help to break the ice.  I read an article the other day where it was estimated that Sales only uses about 20% of the stuff marketing creates (supposedly on their behalf).  Twenty percent!  That means 80% is ending up in the marketing landfill!  Watching an associate interact with a customer might provide some insight into why this is true.  It also might free-up some budget to develop materials and content that actually generate sales, which could also come in handy when justifying next year’s budget.  Which brings me to my next point …

Two budgets are better than one!

It’s no secret marketing budgets have taken a hit over the past couple of years.  There have been fewer dollars to spend and management has expected greater return on what has been spent.  A lot of good ideas and programs have fallen by the wayside due to lack of funding.  But what if Marketing engages Sales more closely and demonstrates an ability to create content that not only generates leads, but also nurtures those leads throughout the buying process until they meet Sales’ criteria for being truly viable?  That would make Sales happy, right?  It might even prompt them to share some of their budget to make it happen. More budget.  More content.  More wins!

Let’s face it, the rules are changing.  The old ways of operating – and budgeting – are becoming less and less relevant.  Management is no longer interested in funding the programs they’ve always funded.  They are interested in funding programs that work.  And creating programs that work increasingly requires a deeper understanding of your customers’ informational needs and competitive concerns at every step of the buying process.  Gaining the insight of the group that is typically closest to your customers seems like a good way of improving your odds of success.

Honestly, this really isn’t rocket science. 

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