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How Aligns Marketing and Sales

Posted on Oct 14th, 2010
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    Todd ForsythTodd Forsyth, Vice President of Global Campaigns, gave an energetic presentation at the Marketo 2010 User Summit (Marketo is a TopRank Online Marketing client) on how Salesforce aligns marketing and sales.  Following is a summary of the highlights of his presentation – which includes key takeaways for B2B marketing and sales teams:

    Sales and marketing alignment are second nature at Salesforce.  Today, we’ll explore how as a brand, Salesforce integrates sales and marketing throughout all of our tactics and why this is also vital for your B2B brand.

    Thriving in a rapidly shifting media landscape

    The media landscape is changing faster than anyone can imagine.  How can marketers possibly keep up with this dynamic landscape?  Keep in mind, the one thing that hasn’t changed and is constant throughout is that alignment between sales and marketing as a requisite to drive business.  This is required in all landscapes.  Sales and marketing together is the secret sauce for how we go to market.  With that said, staying at the edge is essential.

    A few trends you need to be aware of:

    • Last year was the first year that the number of social network users surpassed email users.
    • Broad changes in Internet usage – for the first time, Facebook is a predominant way users are finding information on the web
    • Devices that consumers and prospects are using to access the web are also rapidly changing – there’s explosive growth in mobile

    There are many benefits to being a marketer at Salesforce but the one that sticks out is we adopted an approach for modern marketing.  We looked at where we were spending dollars and decided to completely blow up our marketing mix model and switch everything around overnight.  We placed a major bet:

    • Took traditional demand generation spending down 69% (display, paid search, third party email marketing, traditional direct marketing, etc.)
    • Invested in social media and video as primary channels.  1300% year over year increase in the number of videos we produce talking about how our product benefits customers.  Views went up 1700%.  Contacts from social channels went up 400%.

    What happened to pipeline and revenue?  We are delivering 33% more leads – and pipeline value is up 18% year over year.  We are producing more by spending less money leveraging the changing media landscape.

    This combined with ensuring marketing and sales work together has been incredibly effective.  We believe that the traditional marketing model is dated.  One of the things you notice about the traditional funnel is that sales is at the end of the process.  How can you believe in the integration with sales at the end?

    Based on where we made changes in the marketing mix, we have created a different model we manage our business to.  That framework, in summary, is that everything that we do in marketing has to drive the conversation between sales and marketing.  That conversation is based on two fundamental marketing and sales models.  Our goal is to have dialog in marketplace, in sales and with customers:

    The 3 pillars of marketing dialog

    1. Evangelism in the marketplace
    2. Engagement with customer
    3. Building and maintain community with customer

    One of the most exciting things in our marketing at Salesforce is the relationship between our customers and our internal team, and having all of the data and interactions in one tool.  This is important as you start to consider your relationship between marketing and sales.  If you have all of your apps and info on one platform that manages leads, opportunities and deals, you have a powerful set of information on the effectiveness of this new model that everyone can leverage.

    There isn’t a day that goes by that a marketer at Salesforce won’t go into our collaborative workspace.  They have to use it because the business is in the app.  This gives us a real-time, full marketing mix and deep-dive into sales view of our business.  The type of ROI analysis we can do by having marketing and sales together is we can look at campaign performance all the way down to rep level.

    Another secret we have is a real-time partnership between marketing and sales.  Sales need presentations, content and analytics and they need it now.  From a marketing perspective, we need real-time visibility in order to respond in a digital world and real-time collaboration in sales.

    Know your marketing and sales model

    If your business sparks small, medium and large leads you’re going to have different challenges.  We have all of these solutions and so we’re dealing with very different sales models.  We have come to the conclusion there are two types of marketing models to focus on:

    1. Relationship marketing model – very complex – buying times can vary over long periods, you may have several influencers and multiple decision makers and partners.  In this model marketing’s role in the buying process has evolves.
    2. Transactional marketing model – this is where the customer knows what they want and who to buy the product from.  Not a lot of decision-making and the role of marketing can go very deep into the purchase product.  Demand generation can be a very primary tool.

    You could say a transactional marketing model is targeted to SMB and relationship to enterprise.  Here’s how we segment the marketplace:

    • Small business & very small business,
    • General business/mid-market
    • Enterprise.

    “The 4 horsemen model”

    At Salesforce, this model is composed of the following elements

    1. Sales
    2. Inside sales
    3. Alliances
    4. Marketing

    What this means is marketing has a target as much as sales.  The average percentage of marketing across our entire mix is 26% – which shows you how important marketing is to our business.  This is why sales and marketing are so tight, if marketing misses its target sales may miss their commission.  When they work together, everyone has to have targets for the pipeline to work.

    We track for all these “horsemen” at the executive level – they get reports by horsemen and by geo to keep their fingers on the pulse of how each horseman is going along.

    Because marketing is a horsemen and marketing is responsible for revenue, this means marketers should have metrics tagged to revenue and means they have to hit revenue pipeline goals.  They have incentives to hit goals because it affects their business.

    Marketing tactics must engage the selling process

    In the relationship-marketing model, we avoid building lists based on pre-determined criteria.  We partner with sales to identify strategy and areas they want to attack.  We’re not doing mass demand gen, we’re doing highly targeted campaigns.  Here’s an example of a program we ran for our service cloud:

    We worked with sales and identified their top competitive accounts in their territory – 2,000 top accounts.  We went and created a hand-build, hand-tested, custom list for those competitors.  We created personalized communications from sales reps to each customer.  Then for the top 100, we hand selected accounts and created migration offers.  It was highly targeted vs. mass demand gen.

    Emails were triggered by sales interaction through the prospects “journey”.  We measured effectiveness of doing this and it more than doubled the results of simple “one off” emails.

    You need an end to end marketing process for integration of sales and marketing.  Salesforce has one process across sales and marketing – it’s simple, and it doesn’t deviate by product or sales and performs exceptionally well.

    Web optimization is based on sales

    When we look at optimization, we optimize against sales and pipeline.  So when we look at changing the navigation, we don’t purely look at click through rate or bounce rate, but how specific items improved our pipeline.