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Has Marketing Assumed Pipeline Ownership? Christopher Ryan Opines

When a New CMO Meets the Sales Manager, Sparks Fly

IStock_000008113130Small“What can I do for you today?” Cyndi asked the new CMO as he settled into the chair facing her.

“It isn’t what you can do for me,” Tom said. “It’s what can I do for you.  While I’ve only been on the job for a few weeks, maybe there is something Marketing needs to do for you,” he said with a bemused smile.

“Like what?” Cyndi asked with a combative edge to her voice.  As the sales manager for the company she’d been through this before.  “Maybe more leads would help; either we get too few, or too many with no interest in buying anything.”

“Do you want more leads, or more qualified leads?  Do you need follow-up help, or collateral to help you sell?  What is it you need to bring in revenue?”

“Yes,” Cyndi said, with a slightly unbelieving smile. “Yes, to it all.  We want qualified leads, help in follow-up, and something, anything to help us sell.  I need testimonials, proof statements, case studies and white papers.  The last CMO promised us stuff, but somehow it never got delivered. She made the mistake of hiring a content manager, not a content creator.  Lots of talk, but like always, we were on our own.”

 “Well, first we need marketing and sales to define a sales lead, then I need to look at your annual forecast and compare it to the marketing plan to see if the two agree.  In other words, does the lead gen plan follow the forecasted need for sales?”

“I need to review the CRM system and make sure we understand the sales process steps, then ask the salespeople what they need to support each step.”

“By the way,” Tom   said, “we don’t have a marketing automation system to help with this process.  Can you support us getting a system that so we can put these things in place?  It will help qualify leads, manage content delivery for the salespeople and provide backup follow-up.”

Cyndi seemed so taken back by the CMO’s approach she managed a harrumph, which the CMO took for a yes.

“By the way, is there a marketing plan?” Tom asked?

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Cyndi said.  “Not that I’ve seen.”

“Oh, and the four of us in Marketing need to travel for a few days some of your reps.  Don’t pick the top rep; we want those not doing so well.  We want to hear from some not making quota.  And, I’ll need to see the quotas being carried by the reps and see who is failing.  Maybe we can help them.”

Instead of answering the request, she said, “You know, I didn’t get along too well with your predecessor.” 

“Yup, so I hear; but that was yesterday,” he said. “Today’s a new day, new people, new tools, we have a plan to write, and quota to make.” 

Cyndi is thinking, “What’s with this guy?  He says the right things, but so did the others.”

Harrumph she grumbled, “We’ll see. But I think you’ll do better than your predecessor who spent money, hired people, created too many unqualified leads, sales didn’t improve, and she was gone after nine months.  And if something doesn’t change soon, I’ll be gone too.”

“Smile,” Tom   said. “We’ll have a plan, which you’ll have to approve, within a week after traveling with the reps. We’ll concentrate on quality, create supportive content, take on the follow-up of unqualified leads, and market to our customers.”  

“Don't forget, we need your definition of a lead, confirmation of the sales process, and a service-level agreement that Marketing will abide by to help you create revenue.  Marketing will supply a meaningful pipeline and nurture it to hand over sales-ready leads. It’s easier than you think.”

“Hmmm, maybe,” Cyndi said.  But this time she was smiling.

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