The PPC Show

Marketing and Sales Alignment with Craig Rosenberg

I was lucky enough to sneak in some time in with Craig Rosenberg, co-founder and Chief Analyst at TOPO. Craig works with some of the fastest growing B2B companies in the Valley, and has consistently been voted one of the top Sales and Marketing influencers by his peers. I personally read his blog, Funnelholic, religiously for insights on growth, alignment, and technology.

While Craig is an adept marketer, at the end of the day, he has a thoroughbred sales mind. In a segment we’re dubbing, “Across the Table”, I wanted to pick his brain on the sales perspective - however honest.

Catch the full interview:


Below, we've distilled down some of the best moments of Rosenberg's sermon.

What is something Sales has always wanted to tell their Marketing department, but hasn’t?

There’s not much the sales team has not said to the marketing department. Probably more that they regret, than things they haven't said.

Alignment doesn’t mean you’re friends. Alignment means you’re both achieving the same goals. Sales people by their nature, when they’re good, can be very difficult. They naturally challenge everyone around them - it’s hard.

Misalignment tends to stem from the ideal customer profile. Marketing has gotten very good at generating leads. The problem has been that the majority of the companies being sent over are not a very good fit.

Marketing is generating 5,000 - 10,000 leads a month, and wondering why sales is still complaining. It’s generally a misunderstanding about targeting the right companies, and people we should be talking to.

The nature of the relationship is tension. But we need to align around the ideal customer profile.

How do you go about forming a process that’s in the best interest of the buyer?

It all depends on the buyer. It’s a mindset shift. In a leads world - it’s about the buyer persona. In an account based world, it’s about the company, then the people.

I still believe in buyer personas. But that shouldn’t be what we lead with; it should be the company. If you can identify the right type of companies that will typically become customers, and figure out how they want to engage - you can cover a lot of ground.

In an ABM (Account-Based Marketing) world, Sales has to be willing to have a discussion with someone, no matter where they are in the buying journey. The most important factors: is it the right company, and the right person? Otherwise, don't go account-based, it won't work.

You should be measuring marketing on pipeline, because measuring by MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) in a net world, produces a false positive. Marketing's job is to get the right people, at the right companies in front of sales.

If a company buys into ABM, how do you align sales and marketing messaging?

We call it "Account-Based Everything", Account-Based Marketing is just a part of the equation. If you decide that you’re going after a set of accounts - then everyone needs to align. Marketing, sales development, sales, product, and CS.

[Tweet ".@funnelholic: "We call it 'Account-Based Everything', #ABM is just part of the equation.""]

Often, one part of the group in isolation makes this decision, and that doesn't work. Example, I’m going after the Enterprise, but the product is not fit for the Enterprise. Everything needs to align.

You take a theme, based on what you know about those accounts, and try to make it as personable as possible. If you're looking for a more scalable ABM model, you can group accounts into big blocks.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What's the campaign theme?
  2. What are the different touches?

SDRs should not send that templated email. Remember, template emails are roulette wheels. If you only get 100 rolls of the roulette wheel, then you need to increase your odds. The only way to do that is to get your message as close to what the buyer cares about as possible, across the entire revenue chain.

Go find 3 major pains that are happening on that account, and create campaigns against it.

Department budgets were traditionally aligned based on the closed opportunity's source. While ABM tracking is the sum of the total engagement points (assists). How do you now measure success?

The ABM metrics has made us change. We made our living as Demand Gen guys from downloads. If you move from industrial strength demand gen to Account-Based Marketing, you're headed for a slow down. The level of activity is about to decrease exponentially.

It's going to take a lot of lobbying. Marketers used to be able to give scoreboard like lead numbers, and now they are going to have to look at true revenue. Looking at the opportunities created within target accounts, not pipeline created. You have to help the company understand that there are KPI like metrics, that are indicators that things are going well. Such as engagement against your target account. I know it's a soft metrics, but if an executive gets served an ad, attended an event, or cruised your website - these things matter.

Closing Thoughts

Marketing should have the end goal of influencing a key buyer to have a 1-on-1 meeting with the sales rep. In isolation, many of marketing's engagements, like impressions, seem soft. But together they change people's mindsets.

AdStage Team