Last week I was in Minneapolis speaking at Confab and attending AA-ISP. It's the first time I've gone directly from a conference focused exclusively on content strategy to an inside sales conference. Can I just say, Whoa!
It was like hoping from one island to another without a bridge.
First, a snapshot of my impressions of Confab:
- Wonderful conference with a tight focus on a topic that's my passion
- Commaraderie that spawned comments such as "I found my people!"
- Inspiring conversations with people who actually "get" content
- Met a number of people I've been watching/stalking from afar
- Had a great crowd at my presentation that asked very thoughtful questions - bless all of you!
- Cake (lots of CAKE) and our own cocktail - the Lorem Sipsum - and it was GOOD!
Overall, it was inspiring! I thought, WOW, marketers are making a lot of progress. In a number of conversations, I met marketers who were rocking it, but weren't sure they really were. Yes - all of you, take note - you're on the right track.
I felt great - cake not withstanding.
Then I went two blocks down the street to sign books and attend the AA-ISP conference.
As a marketer, it was like walking into a foreign land. And I say this having worked and collaborated wtih a number of inside sales organizations on successful projects. I actually knew as many people at this conference as I did at Confab. Many of them on board with the alignment imperative between the two professions.
Unfortunately, what I found in several of the presentations that I attended was either a total lack or respect for marketing or no mention of them at all. In all fairness, many marketers don't mention sales much, but it does come up more often since marketing actually serves sales (or they should be).
Here's the part that really sets me back. There were a number of really terrific ideas presented at AA-ISP. Really good, with the potential to be great collaborative efforts with marketing in order to create higher efficiencies and greater momentum in the sales process. Wonderful opportunities for overlays.
But the emphasis was on sales owning, controlling and keeping all of these ideas on their island. No sharing.
I can't help but wonder that if this is what salespeople are learning at conferences, no wonder the subject of alignment is still as controversial today as it ever was. And going nowhere fast.
Which brings me to a question that my friend, Trish Bertuzzi (@bridgegroupinc) posed in a recent Focus roundtable we did together:
If prospects are spending up to 70% of their buying process with marketing, why is it that only 50% of sales reps are meeting quota?
Seems to me that both marketing and sales need to bridge this gap and work together if we're going to improve the prospects' experience during their buying process to the point that objectives are met on both sides of the equation.
I'm not placing blame on sales, I'm just noting that something's gotta give if we're going to reach higher levels of success for our companies. It really shouldn't be this hard. Ultimately we're all working toward the same goals...aren't we?
On the high side - I watched Anneke Seley (@annekeseley) receive her Lifetime Achievement Award and was proud to be there clapping and cheering for her. Congrats, Anneke!