5 Ways to Integrate Sales and Marketing

(We’re proud that Marketo featured our highly acclaimed white paper, How to Find New Customers, on their Marketing Resources page. Thank you.)

Take our Linkedin poll. What do you think of Marketing Automation?

Every expert in sales and marketing today says the same thing. You simply must integrate sales and marketing in your business.  Leads need to flow back and forth. Sounds logical to me.

But how? How can we ensure it happens? Why do so many fail? In my estimation, 9 out 10 who try to integrate actually fail at it.

The goal of this post is to keep YOU from failing, where so many others have crashed and burned.

Is the only way to effect change a major disaster?

A good way to find root causes is to take lessons from other companies. It’s not easy to fix these issues.  To illustrate the challenge, look at this comment:

“We have to get the priorities right. And Job 1 is to get these things that have happened, get them fixed and get them sorted out. We don’t just sort them out on the surface. We fix them deeply.” He’s talking about making safety a priority after an accident.

How do you make change happen? They did the usual things.  Chances are, it’s the way you get things done in your company.

  • Put someone in charge
  • Put money behind it.

Did it work? You tell me.

Those words and actions were from the new CEO of BP – four years ago – to fix safety problems.  (recounted in NY Times, Business Section, 6/19/2010, page 1) Despite executive pronouncements, there was a little safety problem in the Gulf of Mexico recently. (Yep, that oil spill that’s been headline news around the world.) The old way of doing business was deeply ingrained in their culture, so the desired changes never happened.

What was clear was that a new person in charge and money – did not change the culture of the company.  Does that happen in your business?  Do you hire a consultant, pay him or her a lot of money, and then go back to the way you always did things? Perhaps 9 out of 10 companies do that.

Let’s examine another company who did it differently.  Exxon Mobil has not had a serious accident in the 21 years since the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. Exxon used that disaster to transform their culture.

After the disaster, Exxon formed a team of some of its most respected executives and gave them a mission – figure out how to embed safety into the culture. Note that Exxon Mobil used a much different process than simply throwing words, money and people at the problem.

  • The team visited sites and listened. They learned the existing culture.
  • The team had the full and public support of top leaders.
  • Processes were put in place to be followed at any location.
  • Redundancies were put in.
  • Workers were encouraged to bring safety issues to their bosses.

As a result, the company became so safety-crazed, today they test the temperature of the lettuce in the cafeteria on a regular basis.

What take-aways are there for the CEO of a business to business seller? How can we truly integrate sales and marketing, without first incurring a major disaster? Here are 5 tips:

  1. Put your most respected executives on it along with outside help like Find New Customers.
  2. Give them the full and vocal support of top leadership.
  3. Provide them with time to uncover existing processes and challenges.
  4. Support them to implement new processes.
  5. Measure and test.  Make sure the culture really changed.

What do you think? How hard is it to change culture? We love comments, Retweets and “Likes” on our Facebook Fan Page.

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Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is President of Find New CustomersLead Generation Made Simple.” He’s also the author of three highly acclaimed white papers, How to Find New Customers, Definitive Guide to Making Quota, and Moving from Transactional to Conversational Email Marketing, as well the e-book, Prospect Driven Marketing and holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame.

Find New Customers helps business develop and implement programs to drive more sales leads by improving the way they find and acquire new customers using best practices in lead generation.

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