I just read the IBM 2011 Global CMO Marketing Study. It’s a fascinating report, based on in-depth interviews with more than 1700 CMO’s worldwide. It’s a must read for any sales and marketing professional.
As I devoured the 72 page report, something struck me—where’s sales? In a discussion of critical issues facing CMO’s there was no discussion of the Sales Function or how Sales and Marketing need to work together. I wondered if I missed something, so I searched on the words “sales, sale.” Those words occurred 23 times in the 72 page report. Two times in the title of someone quoted, one time referring to campaigns, two times referring to data, sixteen times indicating revenue, and two times referring to the sales organization.
The CMO’s stated their four biggest challenges are: Explosion of Data, Social Media, Proliferation of Channels and Devices, and Shifting Consumer Demographics.
Where is Sales? Where do CMO’s talk about the Sales Function or the importance of Sales and Marketing aligning to maximize their impact on revenue generation?
I reread the report three times, thinking I had to miss something. I didn’t. Apparently the sales function and organization is not on the radar screens of these 1700 CMO’s.
For some time, I’ve been evangelizing the concept of sales and marketing integration. As we look at the new world of buying, we find that sales and marketing processes must be tightly integrated and aligned to maximize impact on customers. As we look at Challenger Sales, the new customer engagement, the importance of social selling, rich content, and so many other things; sales and marketing are becoming inseparable.
Yet this doesn’t come up at all in the concerns of CMO’s from around the world. How can any CMO ignore the role of sales in impacting their own effectiveness?
As bad a picture as it paints, at least we start understanding the magnitude of the disconnect between sales and marketing. For each of us to be focused on maximizing our impact in our markets, for each of us to be seeking to engage our customers in meaningful ways, for each of us to contribute to the revenue and share growth of our organizations, we must depend on the other. We are wasting money, resources, and customer equity by working separately or, at worst, with conflicting objectives.
The new buyer is changing all the rules. The new buyer is telling us, sales and marketing, that they want something different from us–in how we educate and inform them, how we engage them, and how we help them achieve their goals. They are demanding value, but how can we maximize our value if the right hand (marketing) and the left hand (sales) aren’t working in lock step.
It seems that before our organizations can maximize our impact on customers, we must first learn how to work together, knocking down the walls between organizations, aligning ourselves, our goals, our programs, presenting a single face to the customers. What is unstated in the survey, but implied by it’s absence is the single biggest problem for sales and marketing executives is their inability to work with each other. Until, we focus on this problem, until marketing and sales become inseparable, until our processes are so intertwined, until we can complete each other’s sentences, we will never maximize our impact on our markets and customers.
I’m looking forward to IBM’s 2012 survey of CMO’s. I hope this comes up as an issue in that report. If it doesn’t, then perhaps the 73% of CEO’s who are dissatisfied with the performance of their CMO’s may take action.