‘B2B marketers should partner with sales to have more clout’

Business to business marketers need to partner with their sales counterparts or see their influence over the company’s long-term strategy for revenue growth diminish, according to consultants Forrester, adding weight to other recent calls for a fusion between the two functions.

Sales People

B2B marketers must partner with sales to develop a “go-to-market” strategy from scratch, rather than reactively responding to requests for marketing materials to boost existing demand, Forrester says in a report.

The need for B2B marketers to forge greater ties is prompted by forecasts of rising marketing budgets. Forrester says that more money will increase pressure on CMOs to “take a leadership position in driving long-term revenue growth by winning new customers.”

Jeff Ernst, author of the report, says: “Too many B2B marketing organisations are still acting as a fulfilment function, responding to requests from the sales organisation for more collateral and from product organisations for more campaigns focusing the marketing team on deep customer and market expertise, senior marketers can increase their clout with sales management and become equal partners in defining the go-to-market strategy, determining together what the sales team really needs, which is usually different from what it asks for.”

Forrester joins Neil Rackham, academic, author and sales consultant to IBM, Xerox and AT&T and the Chartered Institute of Marketing in calling for a fusion of sales and marketing.

Their position drew criticisms from many marketers, who argued that marketing and sales functions were fundamentally different.

Separately, Forrester found that 80% of companies plan to increase marketing spend in 2012. Budgets are tipped to increase by an average of 6.8%, the poll found.

Tech services, up 9% and manufacturing firms, 7%, will report the biggest gains.

Forrester polled 864 marketing executives in North America and Europe earlier this year.

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