Shrinking the Lead-to-Revenue Pipeline and the Persistent Gap between Sales and Marketing

Posted by: James H. Hooker, President and CEO

Heading into Sirius Decisions next week and with some big news of our own to announce, I’ve been reflecting on the state of the industry and more specifically the continuing gap that exists between sales and marketing, despite everyone’s best interest in having these two core engines of business work together.

When I first started out working it was as a sales guy for IBM. My title however referred to me as a marketing rep. The idea did not impress me, but it was the beginning of a career that saw me leave IBM and take a more entrepreneurial path including founding Televerde. In the past 25+ years I have worked with any number of sales and marketing professionals and one thing I can say for sure is that the two disciplines attract different people. The roles and responsibilities are different, but both have the same ultimate goal of revenue generation. So why are they still not speaking the same language?

There is plenty of talk about developing measurable KPIs and attaching targets to marketing to mirror the way sales is measured as though somehow they – marketing – are the weak link in the chain. And as many arrows, barbed or otherwise, are aimed at outside sales and their apparent inability to work qualified leads served up by marketing and inside sales.

There were some in the industry that viewed (or perhaps still view) marketing automation as the answer not only to cost reduction, but also to this disconnect, and a way to boost inbound lead generation and a more efficient lead-to-revenue process.

From where I sit however, the opposite has happened. Automation has not delivered an integrated sales to revenue process that works in a way that matches the new customer journey. It has also not yet provided sales and marketing departments with a continuous process and path to greater revenue. What it has done however is to put outsized focus on inbound lead generation at the expense of outbound marketing. The most successful companies are going to be those who get this balance right and execute well on both.

All of which brings me to the upcoming big news from Televerde; at Sirius Decisions we will share the results of our recent survey of sales and marketing professionals, including the fact that 61 percent still experience misalignment between sales and marketing. On the plus side, 67 percent say inter-departmental communication about customer engagement is very important. It seems it’s just not happening in a way that makes optimum use of all the customer data being collected.

To that end, Televerde is also announcing Pipeline Navigator, an added new capability to our Business Intelligence Platform.  In a nutshell, Pipeline Navigator is going to enable sales and marketing departments to reach the right audience faster and with more relevance, and without having to purchase additional lists. Right now reps are spending an average of 50 percent of their time sifting through department data to find the right info to reach the right target. We intend to cut the time spent on research to 10 percent, with 90 percent of time spent on actual buyer engagement delivering precise targeting and personalized outreach. Pipeline Navigator will help sales and marketing departments align to build more targeted campaigns offering more personalized prospect engagement throughout the sales cycle – even as the engagement changes in real time between initial contact and final sale.

Come and see us at Sirius Decisions for a demo and the chance to not only ask questions, but to have your say in how we continue to develop Pipeline Navigator in a way that makes your job easier and ensures better engagement, regardless of whether you are in sales or marketing!

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