Marketing, Sales Alignment: Big Topic at Recent TI Summit

Marketing and Sales Alignment had top billing at the True Influence Winter Summit. Expect more insightful conversations like the one recapped here at the Spring Summit on April 14, when we put the spotlight on artificial intelligence.

Any discussion of sales, marketing and data alignment won’t get far without the Sales view. Marketing, sales and data alignment needs thoughtful planning around all three components. Who better to bring the sales perspective to that conversation than Leslie Canning, Vice President, WW Sales Enablement of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She was the perfect voice to add to this True Influence Summit panel about preparing for a data-driven future.

Leslie Canning Vice President, HPE

Leslie Canning is an experienced global sales leader who’s passionate about sales transformation. Her background is deeply rooted in sales leadership and enhancement across organizations in US, Europe and Asia like Compaq Limited, US Department of Commerce, CISCO, RedSeal Networks, Worldtech Security Technologies, and Check Point Software Technologies.

Known for collaborative leadership, Leslie brings a customer-centric approach to sales enablement for million-dollar revenue opportunities. Focused on the human side of selling, Leslie builds harmony across employee and customer needs to solve complex technological and business issues. In her panel conversation, she touched on the need for the human side of sales in a world that’s blocked off from in-person contact. She also talked about the timing of the disruption in B2B sales over the past year. 

The Time Is Right for Sales and Marketing Alignment

Aligning sales, marketing and data allows you to be more effective in segmenting, personalizing, connecting and closing. We’ve been hearing about aligning marketing and sales for years, and everything’s going okay. Is it really worth the effort? According to Leslie, it is: “60 to 75% of customers don’t engage with an organization or salesperson. They’re doing it all by themselves, and that’s ripe for a platform and service to help marketing and sales coexist very collaboratively.”

Sales Enablement Sits in Marketing

“For us in our organization, sales enablement actually sits within marketing and digital sales,” she explained. “How digital sales affect the enterprise sales process is now a key competency for us. So they are aligned and getting more and more integrated every day.”

This led to the question: Is data then a good starting point? Is it fundamental to the alignment of sales marketing? “I think it is,” declared Leslie. “We had a compelling event, when you think about it. Every person across the globe had to stay home. So we had to change, and the thing we lost was time to prepare for this and have a smooth transition.”

No Time to Prepare Means a Fast Pivot

Leslie emphasized that the opportunity to prepare for the pandemic simply didn’t exist. It was time to act. “It’s gone. And we have to get our salespeople to understand the intensity of customers, because they’re not picking up the phone. They may or may not respond to an email.” 

Fellow panelist Brian Solis concurred, noting that “Before there wasn’t any urgency, although it was widely talked about. Then the pandemic changed the nature of human behavior, preferences, values, interests.

“And this is now a gold rush to data to understand how these markets are evolving along the new trajectory and ways to deliver value to consumers in a way that they want to see it and haven’t felt it. So that disruption that we’ve seen in 2020 is gonna repeat itself all over again in 2021.”

Tie Buyer Engagements to Buyer Outcomes

So how can we encourage salespeople to keep going and not in a creepy way, but in an informed way that ties to outcomes customers are trying to achieve? “That’s when a person will pick up the phone and say, yeah, that’s exactly what I’m focused on. And I’d love to have a conversation with you,” noted Leslie.

“But it has to be tied together. And I think this is where we see the art of selling and marketing coming together. The marketing organization understands now where customers are going and what they’re looking at. But the salesperson has to tie that together into something that’s meaningful for a customer to respond to,” she said.

“We know … that it takes 17 outreaches before a cold prospect will actually respond. And yet we know that a salesperson gives up after two or three times tries if they don’t respond. So we have to help the seller understand, it’s not about reaching a cold, cold customer or winning a new logo. It’s going to take you time, and how can you construct the conversation in a meaningful way? That is, it’s going to be an incentive for that person to respond,” Leslie said.

“You have to tie the conversation to outcomes that you can figure out through publicly stated information to understand what key initiatives the corporation is looking to land. That’s available information. And that is where I think the art of a salesperson comes in,” she explained. “Sales uses their intelligence to find net new contacts and new ways of presenting potential solutions to what corporations are looking to solve.”

Adjusting to a Very Different Sales Process

“That’s where I think the two worlds coming together is actually really, really interesting and very meaningful. Now it’s very different than it was 20 years ago, when a salesperson and client would go to lunch and talk about the initiatives. 

“There’s a really short window now, with only a couple of opportunities to engage. It’s going to be about intent data and looking at ways of understanding without human interaction and learning. So it’s a very different sales process from what it was.”

Accelerating Revenue with Artificial Intelligence. 

Doesn’t it seem like it always comes back to data and AI? Why not! It’s how you find your next customer. Take the next step in understanding and engaging better in the B2B revenue process. Attend the True Influence Spring Summit: Accelerating Revenue with Artificial Intelligence.

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