Tag Archives: Sales and Marketing Alignment

Healthcare Sales and Marketing Teams: Stopping the Sibling Rivalry

I hear it all too often from clients. When I think about it, I’ve probably said some of these myself: “I’ve been in marketing here for two years. I’ve never even talked to a customer.” “I had no idea sales was targeting the chief medical officer. I thought we were still selling to the CIO.” Marketing has no clue what it takes to get a client to commit. They just make stuff pretty.” In the complex healthcare buying cycle, the lack of a symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing can make executive leaders feel like they are mediating the worst sibling rivalry in history.

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Why Content Marketers Should Be Certified in Your Sales Process

When you think about whether to certify sales reps on the sales process, the answer is obvious – of course you should! Reps use the sales process every day and need to understand how the sales stages relate to the buyer’s journey. Reps also use the sales process as an activity checklist to drive intended outcomes. Reps are coached on the sales process, which is reinforced by first-line managers, and success is confirmed by buyers’ actions. However, one group that often is forgotten in the certification process is marketing, especially marketing roles who create content for reps. Unless they have gone through sales training, they may be unaware of how reps and buyers actually engage with one another, and how reps use and present content during those meetings. Yup, classic misalignment.

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Getting Ready for Pipeline Acceleration

Whether preparing for a dry-stone wall or the manufacture of the finest piece of jewelry, there will always be hard-working souls who prepare and rough shape the rock (read: sales lead) before passing it onto the skilled craftsman (read: sales rep) to create a work of wonder. Should a “rock” accidentally fall prior to being worked on, have no fear, marketing is ready with recycled nurture programs to pick up the pieces, dust them off and pass them carefully back to the sales rep. But what if a craftsperson is sitting idle for lack of appropriate stones? What if work has already begun but a problem prevents work from continuing, or an expected purchase falls through? Well, you guessed it; marketing will be ready to work with sales on a variety of programs to help accelerate an opportunity through to completion. At SiriusDecisions, we often help our clients plan pipeline acceleration programs to address these situations. Pipeline acceleration programs can be classified as one of three types: rapid entry, intra-pipeline and last mile.

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When Best Practices Aren’t Best Practices

The more time I spend as an analyst, the more I dislike the term “best practice.” I think it is often misapplied. Let me explain. What's best practice for me may not be best practice for you. What may be best practice today is unlikely to be best practice tomorrow. And when you believe you've achieved a best practice, don't be surprised when that victory proves fleeting because the definition of the best practice has evolved. Best practices are not something you achieve – best practices are something you continually pursue. More importantly, don’t expect to go out and mimic someone else's best practice and see the same results. It doesn't work that way. What you can see and replicate is just part of the solution.

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Rise and Fall of a CMO: A Cautionary Tale

What follows is a true story. Names have been changed or omitted to protect the innocent. Once there was a new chief marketing officer whom we will call Pat. S/he entered the role with great fanfare and raised hopes across the enterprise . . . except for sales; they were mostly indifferent, for they had been disappointed before. Thankfully, this new marketing leader had a wise and benevolent CEO, who explained that the previous CMO had been let go after an internal survey showed that the perception of the entire sales team was that marketing provided little to no value. The CEO was also clear in her expectations of Pat – to align marketing as a close partner to sales and transform marketing into a measurable business contributor. With the mission clearly defined, Pat swung into action, determined to prove the value of marketing.

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Demand Generation: Quality Trumps Quantity

Are your sales teams still crying out, “Give me more leads!” or has the conversation finally shifted to recognize that quantity is insignificant compared to the quality of leads delivered? It’s the lead quality – ultimately measured by how the lead will aid sales effectiveness – that will lead to greater conversion success and a more successful win ratio. Either way, we in marketing owe it to ourselves to determine and agree with sales on what quality level of lead we can realistically be expected to forward, as well as re-examine the steps we are taking to deliver higher-quality leads to meet our service-level agreements.

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The Top Five Characteristics of High-Performance Marketing

Many b-to-b CMOs find themselves in a tricky position. The evolution of the buyer’s journey means that many CMOs and their teams are taking on an expanded scope of responsibilities to reach empowered buyers who are conducting their own research before talking to sales. At the same time, marketing is still struggling to prove its value in many organizations, which typically focus on sales and product management. As Jay Gaines, vice president and group director at SiriusDecisions, explained in a recent webcast, the only solution for CMOs is to lead a high-performance marketing function. Here’s our earlier post describing Jay’s take on what high-performance marketing isn’t. Now, the top five characteristics of true high-performance marketing:

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