TALKING SALES 36: “Is marketing wasted on salespeople?”


Interview by John Smibert

Peter StrohkorbIn this video Peter Strohkorb talks about why “only 25% of the sales leads and collateral that marketing creates is ever used by sales teams”. (IDC)

Peter explains that Marketing typically identifies and produces what Sales need in order to sell effectively – and they often do this without adequate dialogue with Sales.  Sales then decide they have different requirements and cannot use what Marketing produces – what a waste.

Peter provides some recommendations on how to address this issue from both a people and a technology point of view. Particular focus is on how Sales+Marketing should collaborate more effectively.

This is good value for Sales and Marketing leaders, CMO’s, CSO’s, COO’s and CEO’s

Peter Strohkorb is an expert in sales and marketing collaboration. He is an author and speaker.

See more of the ‘TALKING SALES’ series here


John: Peter, I read in one of your reports a quote from IDC recently, and if you don’t mind I’ll read it. “Only 25% of the sales leads and collateral that marketing creates is ever used by sales teams.” That’s a damning statistic!

Peter: Pretty bad, isn’t it?

John: What do you think is the reason for that?

Peter: Well, we see this all the time, unfortunately, in larger organisations that sales and marketing teams just drift apart and stop talking to each other. And because communications has stopped, or been substantially reduced shall we say, marketing has to guess what works for sales and creates more and more material, throws it over the fence to sales and says “Our job is done, now it’s up to you to sell.” Whereas the sales team goes “Well, we can’t really use that.” so in some cases they then deduce that they have to do their own marketing.

John: I’ve been on the sales side most of my life – sales & sales management – and I’ve got to tell you I’m very familiar with that, and we always complain. You know, the leads are no good, or the material doesn’t suit what we’re trying to sell at the moment, into the target market we’re trying to sell to, and all that sort of stuff. Why is it, and what do you think we need to do about it?

Peter: Well, the core problem is that sales and marketing are not talking to each other in a constructive fashion and there’s not enough information flowing in both directions. Now, if you look at the way that sales leads get managed It’s, usually speaking marketing to sales and then to the client – not much comes back.

John: Right.

Peter: So, if we can encourage sales to actually help marketing to understand what sales needs to be better at selling, then marketing can stop wasting their time that sales never uses, and then they can support sales better and everybody wins!

John: So, what are some of the things we should do to make that happen?

Peter: Well, the main thing is to actually get the people to agree to work together in the first place.

John: Okay, makes sense.

Peter: Well, yeah. But because we’re dealing with people: it means you’ve got to break down barriers and you’ve got to create a common understanding, an appreciation of why they should work together and how that can work and how it’s even beneficial. Once you have that framework in place then you can move on to say “Okay, what are the processes that underpin that? What are the metrics that measure that? What does success look like?” and then you can say “What technology makes that consistent for us so we don’t lose it again?”

John: It sounds so matter-of-fact and something we should all be doing. Why doesn’t it happen, I wonder?

Peter: There’s probably different reasons in different organisations, but it starts off with two elements; one for the people side and one from the technology side. From the people side, there’s often a mistrust from sales to marketing and from marketing to sales, because they’re not the same and they’re quite different.

John: That’s true.

Peter: In their perspectives, their outlooks, their objectives – short-term and long-term and all that sort of thing. And then from the technology perspective you often have vendors coming in and saying [snaps fingers] “Just put our technology in it and everything will be fine!”

John: Of course! [laughs]

Peter: But the technology’s not going to solve a people problem.

John: Yes, okay. So, I get the message. Let’s focus on the people problem, put some methods in place to do that properly and effectively, and you’ll probably going to get a big return on investment.

Peter: Simple, isn’t it? [laughs]

John: I wish it was! Peter, thank you very much for your time and your advice! I think we’ll all get good value from that.

Peter: Thank you, John!


See more of the ‘TALKING SALES’ series here


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John leads three related organisations, Custell, Strategic Selling Group and Sales Masterminds APAC. These help B2B selling organisations, who recognise the need to transform their sales capability, to respond to the tsunami of change that is starting to wash over us all. He works with people who recognise that to survive they must more strategically support their customer in their buying journey - and understand that they must become specialists in the customer's domain in order to be of value to them. He also helps sales teams build differentiated personal brands and leverage the digital and social worlds to engage to create trust and value.

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