“The leads are anemic”…what an odd way to say the leads marketing has acquired are weak.  And of course by weak, I believe it was less about lacking the ability to lift heavy things and rather more about the limited buying intent they had.  But then again, who knows.  

Also quick note, this story was never documented online so there’s a touch of proof that this is actually us writing, not a machine.  AI is advancing at a rapid pace but our experiences are very much our own and what makes us unique.  

With that in mind, from one human to another…

Years ago we were seated around a large conference room, a healthy mix of sales and marketing at the table.  Together, we were reviewing past campaigns, upcoming campaigns, lead intake and handoff.  Mostly, trying to get a good sense of where we were against the quarter & year.

When seemingly out of nowhere, one of our enterprise sales leaders, says with a touch of dramatic flare, “The leads are anemic”.  Enter the WTF moment.  Mostly because it took me a bit to connect the dots and realize that what he was illustrating was the leads were weak and the campaigns that we had been discussing were not moving the needle in the way we thought they were.  Also, love a good public call out in front of the team, thanks mate.  And yes, I do appreciate how this conjures up images of Alec Baldwin standing at a white board with a set of steak knives.  We’ll save that for another day.

Mind the gap…this is precisely where the sales & marketing alignment gap starts to form and what can ultimately lead to an incredible amount of success or to a team that is divided and struggles to hit its numbers.  And while we were all in good spirits it was clear that we had work to do.

I will be the first to say that Marketing has a number of really important jobs, one of which is to drive revenue for the organization.  And while at a B2C company that manifests itself through online transactions, in B2B it shows itself through leads that become opportunities that become customers.  Regardless of the level of intent & quality, leads do still exist and how we educate them, nurture them and move them through an enjoyable buying experience is a large part of our job.  And yet as of writing this today, we still heavily rely on our sales teams to turn that conversation into $$.

With that top of mind, there were three things I realized in that moment.

  1. Our communication needed to improve.  One thing that I have struggled with at times in my past that is critical is the internal communication with our sales team.  Helping everyone understand what we are doing, why we are doing it and what we expect to come from it, so that they can not only get in a room with proper expectations for what is what but also so that they too can become a marketing champion.

  2. We hadn’t spent enough time defining the different stages and establishing a common language.  Meetings meant one thing, leads another, an opp was an opp but different from rep to rep.  And yes, lol, closed won should be the simplest to understand but that’s what you get when you roll with take 1. Take the time to define how the go-to-market process works.  Draw it out if you have to…voila, here is the life of our leads throughout the buying experience.  Hint: if it looks like it belongs on the walls in a museum, you’re hosed.  Make it simple, easy to understand and make sure that all understand it.

  3. We had set company goals but we never sat around the table and set shared goals. One team, one dream, right?  Yes, well that works when you are all working hard to accomplish the same thing.  Setting goals across the team that link the many activities and tie directly to the corporate revenue plan is one of the most important things you can do to achieve sales and marketing alignment.  Marketing builds its initiatives around driving pipeline, and sales around turning pipeline into revenue.  When it starts to crank, it turns into a very powerful, dare I say predictable, machine.

This moment will forever go down as a WTF moment and yet I have found that often, those are the ones you learn from the most.  

We built 4AM to solve for just these moments.  We learned these lessons and then said, what is it that we always wish we’d add to help bring these two teams together and unleash the power of demand generation.  Strategy, planning, communication and program level ROI all at the forefront.

If this resonates, we’d love for you to give us a try today, on us. 


Want to get it right from the start? Learn how 4AM helps early stage B2B companies test what works and what doesn’t.

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