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Gini Dietrich

Six Ways to Integrate Marketing and Sales

By: Gini Dietrich | October 26, 2011 | 
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I’m a big believer in integration. Not integration from the perspective that you’re saying the same thing through every communication channel, but from a “breaking down the silos” point-of-view.

You see, marketing, public relations, advertising, HR, IT, customer service, and all of the other disciplines are supposed to work in tandem with sales. Not in silos, but together.

But it rarely happens that way, which is why we see the fatal silo mistake, especially in B2B sales.

Consider this: You’re on the road, meeting with clients, prospecting for new business, and attending conferences, trade shows, and cocktail receptions.

You’re rocking your meetings and ready to get back to your desk in a couple of days to start closing some new deals and make your numbers for your year-end bonus.

Back in the office, your colleagues have created a campaign that integrates direct, email, public relations, and print advertising around a series of webinars. The webinars are created to generate leads that they’ll then hand over to you for conversion.

You get back to your desk and start closing the deals you started on the road. The webinar series finishes and you’re handed 1,000 new leads.

Which do you focus on first?

I’ll bet it’s not the 1,000 new leads your marketing peers handed you.

So what’s the point?

Marketing has been told to integrate so they’re using all of the disciplines to promote the webinar series. And that’s where they’re held accountable and how they make their bonuses.

But they’re not integrating with you, nor are you integrating with them. You’re doing your job and they’re doing theirs. And those 1,000 potential customers? They’re left with a bad taste in their mouths.

Six Ways to Integrate Marketing and Sales

  1. Lobby senior leadership to make total integration part of the bonus program for every employee.
  2. Develop a team, made up of one person from each discipline, to work towards the same business goals and break down the silos.
  3. Meet every other week (at a minimum) to discuss upcoming activities, goals, and review the dashboard that everyone reports in to.
  4. Work with senior leadership to consistently convey the integration message and support the efforts of the team. The entire team, not just the sales team.
  5. In the webinar example used above, work with your colleagues to determine how/when the series will be held and create a process for following up with the leads that are generated. It could be an email drip campaign or it can be personal phone calls. That’s up to you, but what’s important is the pre-determined process.
  6. Create a system for complete transparency so people move out of their comfort boxes and are willing to work together, instead of in their silos.

In some ways, this is change management and, in others, you’re going to be asking senior leadership to do something out of the norm.

But if you think about all the time and energy you spend on the road and how many deals you close that way vs. creating a webinar series that generates hundreds or thousands of leads, where would you rather spend your time?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

58 comments
brownkr111
brownkr111

Gini, thanks for the quick response. So, what specifically has to happen or what exactly does the employee have to do to get the flat iron (whatever that is :)) or restaurant gift card? Would or could you award one or another number of people weekly, etc.? Also, how do you determine which employee gets the incentive or bonus; how do you assure it's fair to all? A judging panel perhaps?

brownkr111
brownkr111

Alright, better late than never? I enjoyed this article and I was hoping to expand on the HOW to "make total integration part of the bonus program for every employee". I think all will agree that this is a classic easier said than done endeavor. Any thoughts?

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

This is awesome stuff Gini.

Back when I was Western US Rep for a division of an industrial conglomerate marketing and sales were completely separate. Marketing created catalogs. They set up trade shows with booth, collateral, give aways, and they tried lead generations by placing ads in the trade publications.

We never interacted. 4 Divisions that worked together in sales cross selling and marketing was that silo. They never asked us how to improve the leads they generated, only 'here ya go we got you 500 of which 25 would be valid' They never asked for feed back or some sort of proof what they are doing is working. They never asked us to have a meeting and see if maybe we can spend our money better when it came to hand outs to be different. In Engineering everyone gives away the same stuff...rulers, pocket protectors, pens, yawn.

The impact.results could of been compounded had we been made to work together. And I feel that what can be the biggest driver is the compensation plan. Too often compensation plans are what destroy companies because the goals are never unifying rewarding people for the common good vs what people long ago viewed each department should have.

John_Trader1
John_Trader1

I like the idea of #2 where you develop a team with one person from each discipline to hold themselves and their discipline accountable for working towards the same goals in a siloless environment. Another idea is to have the once siloed teams sit together and (as cheesy as it sounds) do some sort of non-work activity together so everyone can get to know each other outside of an office environment. In past positions, getting to know someone helped the office to better understand department approaches and philosophies (which are often unknown and customized to departmental mentalities and conditions) to better formulate an integrated environment where teams work together for lead nurturing and lead gen instead of in their own little bubble world.

jennalanger
jennalanger

@RizzoTees Hi Chris! Those tweets are on the page b/c that convo stemmed from a tweet of @ginidietrich's link, & she can't stop talking! :)

TravisMClemens
TravisMClemens

Gini, this is a great topic, and one I've been pulled into a lot the last year or so at my company. I think lead nurturing/scoring/grading is an important part to this. EFFECTIVE nurturing helps marketing pass along only the prospects who are prepared for sales-ready conversations. My company recently ran a campaign on this very topic. Thought you might find it interesting: http://www.marketstar.com/cowboysvsaliens

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

The late Eli Goldratt once said, "Tell me how I will be measured and I will tell you how I will perform." He believed that 'The Goal' was for a company to make money now and in the future, but companies often create fiefdoms where the feudal lords are interested in achieving the goals which serve them best.

Goldratt's point was that to achieve integration and teamwork the goals must be aligned to where people benefit from working with the other departments. If individual department goals remain, they will always trump the overall goal, and total throughput will suffer.

That is my two shekels worth.

TheJackB
TheJackB

I have worked on both sides of the fence and only rarely did I see effective integration between the two sides. One of the reasons is because in many organizations sales people are measure solely upon the sales they have closed and not what is in the pipeline.

That can create an environment that is not conducive to integration because the salesmen are only interested in what is going to help them close deals now. They may appreciate that there are tools that will help later but those are useless if you don't have a job.

kshe
kshe

@ginidietrich Excellent post today! Directly relevant to an "approach change" convo I had with a client just yesterday. Good suggestions.

DanielMWood
DanielMWood

The problems with moth attempts to integrate marketing is that the sales staff and marketing staff are two different staff. Their is no overlap.A integrated communication isn't about saying the same thing in each channel it is about saying the right thing to the right people at the right part of the sales process.So when you get leads you need your sales staff to want to take them, make them a part of the sales process and I am sure it won't only be better, but you will have them on board.

KenMueller
KenMueller

I think the whole idea of breaking down those internal silos is crucial for any business to succeed at this point. It's not just marketing and sales, it's across the board. I've experienced the frustration of those silos in so many different jobs, and it is counterproductive. At the root of it all is our perceived need to justify our existence, and importance, as a department, as compared to other departments. Why do we have to compete internally? We're supposed to be working together for the betterment of our company.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @brownkr111 It depends on what you're trying to achieve. I'm a big believer in group vs. individual incentives. It creates more collaboration and teamwork. We always set quarterly goals and, if the group achieves or exceeds them, everyone gets rewarded. This also creates the opportunity to weed out those who aren't pulling their share of the load because their team will rat them out.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @brownkr111 Totally! We actually explored this a ton in Marketing in the Round so it's easy to talk about it now. What you want to do is consider how people are motivated. It typically isn't by money (assuming they're making enough to not live paycheck-to-paycheck). The first thing you want to do is make sure it's part of their job description. If it's not, no matter how much they'd like to do it, it'll end up falling off the to-do list.

 

Then, figure out incentives for the group and by individual. We did this for one client and discovered one young lady really wanted a $200 flat iron and another man was big on taking his wife on fancy dinner dates. So those were the incentives we used. And it worked really, really well.

Latest blog post: The Seinfeld of Blog Posts

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@TravisMClemens One of the things we just faced with a client is the marketing team wanted to be seen as the heroes, instead of sales. So they were hoarding the leads. Oy. Vey.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@ExtremelyAvg When did Eli Goldratt die?!? I missed that.

Also, I have a question for you. I was on your blog this morning and, other than taking break to golf on Sunday, you're mostly just writing Henry Wood?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@TheJackB And, from my experience, sales is interested only in what marketing can do to help them close those deals, not filling the pipeline. Lots of change has to happen, but when it does, it works really well.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@kshe Thanks! It's something we deal with, with clients, every single day

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@DanielMWood Totally agree! It's about working together, as a team, instead of in your silos only looking out for yourself.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@KenMueller Funny you should say that...I agree. So much so, in fact, there might be a book with my name on the cover coming out.

John_Trader1
John_Trader1

@deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis You hit the nail on the head Sean. The last few decades of business culture have fostered bitter interdepartmental rivalries that take so much time to unravel. It truly is amazing that in few settings, this problem is actually addressed.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis@John_Trader1@KenMueller I moved to Chicago to build a PR department within an advertising agency. Integration was all the rage. And then 9/11 struck the country and everyone retreated to their corners, licked their wounds, and protected their budgets. And the silos went back up. It's just in the past few months that people are beginning to let down the walls again.

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

@ginidietrich Yes, it seems that most days I am content with adding chapters to the 4th Henry Wood. I'm having too much fun writing it to add many other posts. It really makes the blog almost completely unreadable for all but the few nutters who are following along with the current novel.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@ginidietrich It is a fundamental problem with sales philosophies in many places. If you are considered to be only as good as your last sale it makes you focus differently.

If management viewed sales as being more than hard numbers they would find a real change in attitude. A good salesman isn't just bringing in revenue they are serving as a product/service evangelist. It is not unlike being a "living" ad for the company.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis@ginidietrich how can we fix this? I mean only for our clients (don't want their competitors doing this too!)

Would be an interesting case study to see some of the companies that have come and gone if part of the reason was this problem?

KenMueller
KenMueller

@ginidietrich@deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis@John_Trader1 That's an interesting point and I'm not sure I would pin it to 9/11 because I saw it working in NYC well before then, but economic conditions are key. When belts are tightening, every department wants to maintain their existing staff. If there are going to be layoffs, let them be elsewhere! So we circle the wagons and try to protect what is perceived as ours. Maybe this is a good reason why we might need more fuzzy job descriptions, and more jobs that straddle multiple silos.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@TheJackB A lot of the clients we work with go through some serious change when we come on because we help them incentivize for things other than their last deal. But it's super painful. And we make a lot of enemies. So you're right.

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