Neil Rackham: Aligning Sales & Marketing

Last Updated Jul 15, 2009 10:38 AM EDT

As I pointed out in "Why Your Marketing Isn't Effective", marketing groups that become too "strategic" just waste time and money. I have great pleasure in pointing out that sales uber-guru Neil Rackham basically agrees with me, as shown in this clip where he's being interviewed by Gerhard Gschwandtner, the publisher of SellingPower magazine.

Rackham also endorses -- perhaps in more kindly terms that I typically use -- the notion that marketing groups need to be refocused on generating qualified leads (which he calls "opportunities".) This is a great video that really contains a lot of basic sales wisdom.


Here's a quick summary of what Neil said:

How the disconnect happens:

  • Organizations begin with sales but no marketing.
  • Marketing starts as a sales support function.
  • Marketing then becomes "atmospheric" and "strategic".
  • Marketing loses the ability to communicate with sales.
How the disconnect manifests:
  • Sales says marketing gives us bad leads.
  • Marketing says sales doesn't follow up on leads.
  • There's no common definition of a good lead.
  • There's no differentiation between a lead and an opportunity.
How to fix the problem:
  • Appoint a "Chief Revenue Officer" who owns both sales and marketing.
  • Define an opportunity as a lead that will easily convert to a customer.
  • Jointly define which leads are real opportunities.
  • Refocus marketing on generating opportunities.
  • Create a collaborative, gradual handover from marketing to sales.
  • Create gates through which leads are eliminated as "non-opportunities."

Full Disclosure: I write for SellingPower magazine, the producers of this video,
which also has a distribution agreement with BNET for video content.