Marketing, I failed you!
Updated: Feb 18
I was speaking with a client this week in ops about the status of our project. We had managed to satisfy the requirement so the conversation moved towards what happens next.
One of the challenges his team were having was centred around the disconnect between sales and marketing.
It sounded pretty familiar…
Sales don’t trust the leads that are coming over from marketing. Marketing gets paid on leads created so they're going to chuck anything over the fence.
As a result, marketing doesn’t have the buy-in from sales. Collaboration is pretty low when all marketing wants to do is pass good stuff over.
This barrier means marketing do what they do, sales do what they do.
It got me reflecting on my 8-year sales career.
Was this me? Was I not a good ally to my colleagues in marketing? I want to be able to say it wasn’t and that I wasn’t that guy. That I was an awesome guy to work with.
Truth is, I was that guy.
It’s like my client was describing me and my relationship with marketing. I was never awful about it or anything like that, I was just too focused on my job, my pipeline and the reason I was there in the first place. To close business. Anything that took my attention away from that was a distraction.
But I didn’t take a step back and look at the bigger picture. How I could have invested time into the relationship to make sure it works for everyone.
So this is an open apology. A letter to the marketing teams I’ve worked with and to salespeople everywhere who are repeating the same mistake I did.
These are a few things I would have done differently…
I should have been your ally
We all work on one thing - the buyers' journey.
From the prospect's perspective, the initial interest through to becoming a customer and everything in between is a process. Just one process.
Getting them interested and aware of us is marketings focus. My job was to take the interested ones from you and ensure their needs were met and they felt good about the purchase.
But it's the same process to the customer.
So were we really different teams?
I should have sat down with you regularly to tell you what was resonating. What my buyers (and non-buyers) had in common. That way, we could tailor our message to resonate with the people that needed us.
I saw the buyer persona as a marketing task. The fact you were proactive in working on this wasn't an indication it was your task but more that you had little buy-in but needed to do it anyway.
I should have helped you hone in on those common traits and design those personas with you.
I should have kept my opps clean
Opp hygiene isn’t just for the sales managers. It's for marketing too. Whenever I was chased to tidy up my forecast or opp notes, I thought it was just my sales manager needing it for their forecast meetings. But you relied on me too.
Take campaign influence in Pardot, for example.
Without the right contact roles in the opportunity, we can't track the contribution of your campaigns against the opportunity.
Which campaign sparked it all? What campaign helped get the opportunity over the line?
We don't know.
Which means you can't double down on the campaigns that DO work. The right campaigns to the right people mean more pipeline. And I didn't enable that to happen.
I should have questioned you
One of the times my trust wained was when the sales team was presented with a dashboard of "all these MQLs!" created over the last month yet the sales team felt they were working off scraps.
I fell into the whole "you're just creating anything" mindset.
What I should have done was question the numbers and activity. Not to be an idiot but to take a step back and realise something wasn't working.
You felt you were creating all these leads. We didn't.
So where was that marketing to sales handoff going wrong? Was it the result of bad personas (see above) which didn't align with our ideal buyer? Was something broken so they were going into a black hole and we never saw them?
I guess we'll never know.
Whilst I have the opportunity in my current role to help organisations bridge that gap as Salesforce and Pardot become more tightly connected, I felt like I failed the teams I worked with as an Account Executive.
There needs to be a shift in thinking and for this wall between the two teams to be smashed to pieces.
For everyone's sake.