From time to time, team members will share their views stimulated from a piece by an industry thought leader. Here, our CEO, Lisa Maier, discusses a recent Marketing Automation Panel Discussion reviewed by ChiefMarTec.com.
This is a question that strikes at the heart of the terror B2B sales executives feel when they consider the ever-encroaching, destroys-everything-in-its-path, relentless unfolding of eCommerce. And does the focus on this question prevent large forward strides by otherwise forward-thinking companies?
To my surprise (but maybe not, upon further thought), this question came up at what was likely a very lively session of marketers at MarketingProf’s B2B Forum. My problem is that this question just creates the same age-old divide between marketing and sales.
I do think that for any company to achieve maximum effectiveness in serving customers, both marketing and sales have to play nicely together. Seriously, I think we all know this. I have been on both sides of the table, and I have to say that ONLY when an organization has alignment between sales and marketing, is the company truly able to focus on stomping the competition. Otherwise, there is just a bunch of internal bickering and finger-pointing that leads nowhere. We all know this too.
I will stop my rant to get to my point: It’s clear to everyone that the internet has caused the pendulum to swing back to the side of marketing. The fact that your customers now go seek the information they need well into 60-70% of the purchase process, and that they are more likely to find your company vs you finding them… those are some sobering statistics. Marketing is now in a position of creating and distributing product and service information where your buyers seek information, which is primarily online. I think recent studies were around 85% or more of your customers are seeking information online AT LEAST WEEKLY.
Marketing clearly is ascendant in any B2B company these days. After so many years as also-rans in most B2B organizations, I am certain that feels pretty darn good. And perhaps this is why many sales folks are still so resistant to anything to do with online marketing or sales.
But, are these kinds of frivolities of focus precluding us from putting our attention on what is really important? Such as identifying opportunities to merge MAPs (marketing automation platforms) with CRMs (customer relationship management systems) for a truly full-cycle customer focus ability? Now, to me, this is the kind of heady conversation I’d like to focus on in 2015, as B2B companies consider how to maximize effectiveness in this new world. Let’s talk about that instead.