Drinking from a poisoned chalice ….

…. or from a fire hose?

I love a challenge and an opportunity to use my skills to fix something….so I was both excited and nervous when I was asked to change roles and look after the Enterprise Marketing team. Quite a number of people had taken this role prior to me and I had witnessed the challenges they faced and success they delivered first hand.

So I took a deep breath and dived in.

The main obstacle the I needed to overcome was convincing the sales leadership team that marketing could add real business value beyond sales support with events & hospitality. Working in partnership with them I needed to prove we could be a true growth lever. Many marketers have faced this age-old problem! I knew that the only way to gain respect was by building strong relationships with the key sales stakeholders and together with my team secure agreement from them on what marketing success looked like e.g. value of qualified pipeline and percentage of business that marketing would sign up to deliver.

An agreement was struck and then the heavy lifting began.

We quickly found out promising qualified pipeline sounds easy enough, but it was at a time when there was no marketing automation and so we had to pioneer a manual process. This meant painfully designing, developing and hand cranking a system that collected each customer lead and then converted it to a qualified opportunity for the sales team to follow-up. An early experience of something that is becoming the norm in our digital marketing led world e.g. marketing being more about science than art!

The top 3 issues we faced in creating a leads to qualified pipeline process were ….

  1. All new leads would come from existing customers requiring an account based marketing approach and associated campaign management with effective sales & marketing alignment
  2. No existing processes or systems/tools to collect, track, nurture or convert leads – meaning initially a resource intensive solution would be required
  3. No agreements between the marketing team and sales account managers, apart from ad-hoc campaign by campaign examples.

My excellent team threw themselves into the challenges and worked with the existing IT & Data services group and were able launch the new systems, tools and processes required. The sales teams were very helpful and provided great feedback on what was working and not. Truth be known it felt like drinking from a fire hose! Some positive, some negative, all valuable and a fantastic learning opportunity.

We learned a lot, made a number of mistakes and ultimately achieved the seemingly impossible.

That is my experience, please share yours

Posted in Sales and Marketing Alignment.


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