I’ve spent the better part of my career in the B2B marketing world, and can say with a great deal of certainty that a major shift is underway creating a very different dynamic between marketing and sales. Now, you might be thinking “oh great, another post about the new world of marketing, everything is social and digital and unicorns, your customers own your brand, etc. etc.” but bear with me.
Not long ago, there was a clear approach to the B2B sales funnel: marketing was primarily responsible for filling the top of the funnel with leads, and the sales organization was responsible for pulling those leads through the middle and lower portions of the funnel and closing business. In theory it seems like a reasonable approach, but in reality it was flawed, and typically created a sizable rift between the marketing and sales organizations: sales was dissatisfied with the leads that marketing delivered and felt they were alone in pursuing revenue, and marketing felt sales couldn’t convert the leads they delivered and felt alone in developing strategy.
The result was that marketing would work harder to generate more leads in the hopes of finding a quantity of qualified leads, and sales would spend more time chasing more unqualified opportunities. Both groups became even more frustrated and the rift widened.
Meanwhile, two important things happened over the past few years: businesses dramatically changed how they buy, and the toolkit for marketers got far more powerful than it’s ever been – not just by a little, but by leaps and bounds.