Sales Enablementby Heike Neumann, Marketing Manager Oracle Marketing Cloud

We all know that sales and marketing should work hand in hand.  But in the daily business life, it often seems one is sitting in the train and the other is standing on the platform – in between the gap. Mostly this issue shows its face in the discussions in two areas: Lead quality and the different views of sales and marketing of the universe. This often ends up in heated discussions, blaming and frustrations, which leads to nowhere and nobody wins.

So how can we close this gap? Sales Enablement is the key to success. Here are two practical approaches to succeed:

The Lead Quality Discussion
A statement we are all too familiar with is: “The leads aren’t good enough!” Reasons for this could be that sales either has too many leads or too few. While on the marketing side the complain is, that sales isn’t following up timely enough on leads and sales reps struggling to meet their targets, relying less on marketing.

The Remedy
In the first step invest in lead scoring and sales enablement tools. Lead scoring helps you to qualify leads while they are moving through the sales funnel and prioritize them so that sales only work on leads, which are ready to buy.

In the second step you get buy-in from sales. Sharing your plans, how you nurture leads and prepare them for sales to talk to them, helps to break down the walls and get a common understanding of what both teams want to achieve. You can even equip the sales teams with tools tracking leads’ online behavior, so sales is enabled to respond to opportunities with knowing, what topics, eBooks or webpages their leads are exploring.

The Different View Issue
As in every team made of several individuals, everyone has different views of what works, what doesn’t work, and what the data actually means. Performance and strategy are often judged from different data sets or reports. Anecdotes seem to be sometimes more reliable than real data.

The Remedy
To get over this, the first step should be to get around a table and set common definitions for each stage in the buying process. Even if no sales cycle is perfect, it is in a constant process of perfecting. You need to agree on the stages of your pipeline and what qualifies a lead – this will help you speaking a common language. If you can’t get this done, you’ll probably never agree on anything. But you need this common understanding and a commitment from both sides to getting it done.

Finally tear down the wall between sales and marketing, attend each other’s meeting and check in regularly with each other. Communicate often and you will be rewarded with less surprise that lead to arguments.

Want more detailed advice? Download the Grande Guide to Sales Enablement. If you are at B2B Marketing Forum, don’t miss the keynote with DocuSign’s VP Demand Generation Meagen Eisenberg “A progressive commitment – the sales and marketing marriage”!