Are B2B marketing teams beholden to sales teams?
Short answer: Yes.
In B2B, marketing is completely a function designed to support sales. It is a little bit different in B2C. But in B2B, marketing teams support sales.
If you think you are a fully independent function or want to do marketing for the sake of marketing, you probably should not be in B2B that long. Honestly.
Every line item needs a relationship to sales
Not necessarily in terms of ROI, but … in terms of “Don’t do projects because you think they’re fun or reacting to something.”
A great example is #coronavirus.
You have seen so many #HRTech brands come out with tone-deaf messaging around that. Emails that don’t work, emails that myopically push the product suite, IG posts talking about work-from-home software suites when executives at target companies are trying to make payroll for another 100 days, etc.
A lot of stuff is being created because brands want content focused on “the topic of the moment.” But is this stuff actually helping these brands to sell? Oftentimes not.
And that’s the crux of the problem: marketing needs to at least be having direct discussions with sales on the regular — daily, weekly. See what is working and see what isn’t.
Funny, true, and sad story:
We had the chance to attend a three-day marketing team meeting for a recruiting product suite in July 2018. It was in a hotel ballroom and the whole crew was flown in. It was all marketing peeps.
You know the only time that sales appeared? At lunch, for free sandwiches.
Everything that marketing was discussing was being discussed in a total vacuum. Sales never showed up, never offered insight, etc.
What happened in fall 2018 at that company?
The CMO left for greener pastures. The main sales director left as well.
Now, did they leave in part because of better compensation elsewhere? Totally. That’s life.
But … did they also leave because neither could really do their job without talking to the other, and neither was actually talking to the other? Also true.
In this podcast, Ryan Leary and William Tincup spend about 10 minutes on the sales-marketing relationship. Here’s another oldie but a goodie on the whole deal to get you through as you listen:
A lot of the negative attitude has to do with what we call the Stranger’s Dilemma. We’re all strangers at first, and for good or ill, people don’t necessarily trust strangers. Ironically, many of the techniques salespeople are taught actually reinforce the problem. Many closing techniques are designed to manipulate clients into saying things they don’t want to say. But there’s a better way to deal with the Stranger’s Dilemma: Stop being a stranger. Make it clear your aim is to help your clients. Our whole book is about how you can do that — not through trickery, but by replacing the focus on Always Be Closing with a focus on Always Being Useful.