Stop Talking to My Customers!

Your prospective buyers are out there, deciding where among competing alternatives to spend their money. They are researching, investigating, exploring, asking friends about your brand, your products, or your services. But one thing they are certainly not doing is spending any time at all worrying about how well your marketing and sales teams get along, or where one leaves off and the other picks up during the selling process.

The pot frequently boils over at the moment that marketing turns a lead over to sales. I have found that the top sales executive usually insists that marketing stop communicating with a prospect once sales accepts a lead and begins talking with a prospective buyer. This isn't just a routine request; it is an emotionally driven demand, rooted in mistrust and a deep conviction by sales that marketing will somehow “screw up” a deal cycle once the sales team is engaged. I've witnessed screaming matches between marketing and sales that occurred when this rule was violated. In fact, this is such an important, emotional, and widespread issue that we created a whole set of features specifically designed to allow our customers to implement these no-contact business rules in their companies when we first designed and built our lead management product at Marketo. I am sorry to report that many of our customers still actively use these features.

But I'm convinced that in essentially all of the buying cycles that involve a salesperson — whether it's inside sales, field sales, or a partner channel doesn't matter — your buyer will continue interacting with your marketing team after they've begun talking to your sales team. After all, even the customer's simple act of visiting your website constitutes an interaction between your buyer and your marketing team. And that's not all. Your sales rep doesn't really have much of a say as to whether your prospective buyer decides to attend a compelling webinar that your marketing team has produced. And because your buyers are in control, their interactions are likely to bounce between marketing and sales dozens of times over the course of a complex buying cycle.

Therefore, if your marketing and salespeople aren't working together as a single, seamless team when that buyer does bounce back and forth, your revenue team's dysfunctional relationship is likely to show through — to your competitive peril.

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