CMA conference tackles the sales/marketing relationship
It was grey outside in Toronto Wednesday morning, but a lot of bright ideas were shared during the Canadian Marketing Association’s “Taking on the New B2B” conference.
The day-long event at the Toronto Reference Library covered several top-of-mind topics for marketing and sales teams across Canada, with a strong focus on relationships – between both buyers and sellers and between sales and marketing teams.
Coffee stir spoons froze when Ally Motz, president and CEO of SiriusDecisions Canada, stated that the average company spends $3,000 a year training individual sales staffers while he estimated less than $1,000 a year is spent training a marketing person.
He then reflected on the evolution of the relationship between sales and marketing teams and how they can work together to drive productivity. Back in 2000, he said, the focus was on volume and collecting business cards. The mentality was “throw them to sales and let them figure it out,” he said.
Around 2005, the thinking changed to ‘Let’s provide quality to sales – not just quantity,” Motz said. Now sales and marketing should collaborate on driving demand creation. He suggested marketing departments should create programs to help move sales forward – a “campaign in a box” to help build demand with their large accounts.
Stressing the advantages of best-practice companies, Motz provided another eye-opening figure: the average company needs 18 leads to close one deal; a best practice company only needs five.
Another conference session, “The Journey Towards Marketing and Sales Alignment,” covered how American Express Canada and Amex Bank of Canada aligned their marketing and sales strategies to optimize marketing investments and cut lead waste.
Athena Varmazis, a director of acquisition marketing and strategic partnerships at American Express Canada, and Paul Roman, vice-president of sales and implementation at Amex Bank of Canada, admitted the road to developing a close working relationship between the two teams hadn’t been a smooth journey.
From the marketing perspective, Varmazis said her team was generating leads, but were left wondering why more wins weren’t coming on-board. Over the past five years, the two groups have transformed their business model based on hard-won ‘lessons learned.’ The key to making the two businesses work together, they said, was trust and transparency.
Some of their tips for for building trust and transparency included:
• benchmarking – understand best-in-class and emerging trends
• aligning on a vision (objectives, roles, processes)
• commit to putting a central information hub in place and make it an ongoing exercise