An interesting dialog came up in our LinkedIn Group that highlighted this issue. I
t all started out with a simple question (as many juicy conversations do) with asking the group “In one word, what is their biggest marketing challenge for their company?” Originally in asking this question, I wanted to see if there were any similarities across the automation industry as to their big challenges…I was thinking awareness, leads, and thoughts of that nature. What developed, though, was something else and raised an “old” yet relevant issue between marketing, sales and the executives: RESPECT.
Rich Merritt, a veteran PR consultant commented first:
Getting upper management to appreciate what marcom people do. Too many of them think PR is so easy, anybody can do it. Sales doesn’t appreciate us, high-level managers think we are a waste of money, and the accountant-types will fire us and their PR and ad agencies at the first sign of a downturn. We don’t get no respect.
Since I’ve been out of corporate life for awhile, I was thinking this problem was not as prevalent. My thoughts were that perhaps it wasn’t a respect issue, but more that marketing has had challenges coming up with evidence that their programs worked using closed loop systems… My response…
Respect is a big concern. It’s sad to think that after all these years, Marketing still doesn’t get the full respect it deserves. You make a good point – when PR looks easy, it means that people are working their butts off behind the scenes to make connections and bring things to fruition. The same thing can be said about sales too.
I’ve also seen, like you, that marketing is the first thing to cut in a recession. That’s also because many companies don’t invest in systems that can help with a closed loop process to track conversions in marketing programs, so we’re stuck whistling dixie trying to piece together data that is not cohesive to prove that programs affect the business. Finally marketing automation has come around to help address that process.
Mike Robertson. who presented around this topic at last year’s Summit, added his ten cents to the conversation and raised the ante around sales-marketing disconnections:
…it sounds like the one word may be “DISRESPECT”. Not just the disrespect between marketing and management but also the disrespect between marketing and sales. If you could fix the second that might fix the first too.
What if your marketing team and sales team became a marketing and sales team? When was the last time marketing attended sales training or sales was represented on a product marketing team? Does your marketing program support your sales process and does you sales process take full advantage of your marketing program?
What if that really happened? Some of my biggest a-ha moments in my marketing career happened when I was either (1) attending a sales call with a sales rep or (2) engaged in dialog with a sales person who shared with me exactly what they needed vs. what marketing was delivering. It was always very revealing to see a sales person in action, using tools that marketing created. All the shortcomings (and usefulness) would become glaringly clear in those instances. Talk about valuable insight!
Is this disconnect as wide as it always has been? My rose colored glasses had thought this divide was closing, but apparently it’s as ominous as ever. What is the problem here from your experience? Is it a lack of closed loop systems to prove marketing’s contribution in the sales funnel? Or is it deeper than that?