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Top Trends from TOPO Summit Sponsors – Sales and Marketing Alignment & Marketing and Sales Development Orchestration

We surveyed our sponsors for TOPO Summit 2018 and asked them to identify three trends their companies are following in 2018.  Based on those responses, we will be publishing a series of blog posts over the next several weeks, categorizing their thoughts into six themes: AI and Data, Everything Account-Based, Content and Experience, Sales and Marketing Alignment, Marketing and Sales Development Orchestration, and Sales Focused.

Want to hear more from these companies? Be sure to meet with them at TOPO Summit, where these topics, and more, will be covered by our speakers and our sponsors.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

DiscoverOrg – Convergence of Sales and Marketing Technologies
With more than 5,000 marketing technologies and more than 500 sales technologies (most of which are still silo’ed by team), it is overwhelming to try to execute account-based marketing (ABM) effectively, and to consistently have visibility into what’s working and not working.

It’s clear to me that we will see multiple point solution ABM technologies converge into end-to-end platforms, and we will see customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation tools evolve and get much better at aggregating the data, integrating with these tools and reporting and tracking against key ABM KPIs.

Salesforce Pardot – Sales and Marketing Alignment
At Salesforce, we’re seeing the lines between sales and marketing becoming increasingly blurred. Sales reps aren’t just interacting with customers, they’re marketing to them. Technology has been a powerful driving force for this change. With a CRM platform, they’re smarter, faster, and above all, they’re delivering a personalized experience to their prospects, and that’s where marketing automation comes in.

Marketing Automation puts the power of marketing to work for sales teams. They can add cold leads to nurture campaigns, and provide timely, relevant content to their prospects. They can have informed conversations because the seamless integration between marketing automation and CRM platform means that they are able to see and respond to prospect’s activities in an instant. And this also empowers the marketing teams. They are at the helm: creating the content, determining the messaging, and building out the nurture campaigns. They’re also getting smarter and faster, and more plugged into what their prospect’s needs are because they’re aligned around the same goals as their sales teams. They can interpret the same metrics and adapt their marketing campaigns to create a streamlined experience for their buyers.

Rollworks – Requirement for sales & marketing to engage with extreme relevance
B2B customers are not “accounts”, they’re people, and we see the requirement for both marketing and sales to communicate and engage with customers in an extremely relevant and personalized manner. There is more data available today than ever before, with the ability to track your target customer from the first click on a display ad, to the signed contract. Delivering a customized message that communicates with that target customer where they are in their journey, wherever they are online is the new mandate for our sales and marketing teams.

LinkedIn – Sales and Marketing Alignment
In the age of data, marketing can deliver more targeted messaging, which results in better leads for sales. Data can also help show sales what marketing has always known but has rarely been able to prove: marketing works. With this proof, sales is growing closer to marketing. Eventually, the two departments may ultimately become one with a single goal: grow revenue.

Marketing and Sales Development Orchestration

SalesLoft – Outbound SDRs become masters of process and context
“Forward-thinking companies will want to rethink the role of the SDR in 2018, asking these questions: Are my SDRs doing the same thing as marketing? What’s our transition strategy for moving SDRs to AEs? Why do we have the KPIs that we do? Evolving the role of outbound SDRs in your organization in 2018 will better equip them to take a more buyer-centric approach that increases conversions and drives success.

Triblio – More campaigns targeting anonymous stakeholders
How are marketers reaching anonymous buyers? We’re following how marketers find qualified, anonymous buyers because it’s proving to be a competitive advantage – buyers will continue to avoid or delay filling out forms, so marketers are getting creative with nurturing prior to email opt-ins. SiriusDecisions recognized this trend and introduced the “Active Demand” stage to the top of their next gen funnel. At Triblio, we’ve also seen this trend amongst our clients. 45% of prospects wait 90 days between first visiting a website and filling out a form, and 67% wait 30 days.

Yesware – The beginning of the end of human spammers
There seems to be an accepted lore in SaaS that SDR/BDR teams are required to scale up sales teams cost effectively. What we are finding is that most people are not actually measuring whether this is the case meaning they don’t know what the fully loaded cost of as SDR meeting is and by proxy the average cost of a closed-won SDR-sourced opportunity. For those that do know the answer to this most have found the economics unappealing. It seems to only work well at the high end of the ACV scale with teams that are very effective at understanding the prospect and personalizing the message. Besides people, the other, often overlooked cost to high volume “fully automated” outreach is the prospect fatigue caused by this method. To be sure massively increasing outbound activity does work in the short run but it is questionable as a long term tactic – see the rise and fall of Fab.com and numerous other flash sales businesses as exhibit A. Also, GDPR in Europe effectively ends cold email to European prospects so anyone who wants to build a business there needs to find a way to engage prospects in a personalized, content rich conversation.

Node – Marketing Technologies
It’s no secret that with the adoption of marketing technologies, we’ll have to rethink the marketing team and skills needed. Most people think technology will replace humans in the workplace, but really it’s about a shift in skills needed. Creativity and communication skills will be more important than ever and marketers will also have to evolve to meet this new demand.

ON24 – The MarTech Field
Finally, like everyone else, we’re keeping an eye on the crowded  the MarTech landscape and how organizations can make sense out of it. Our theory is simple. Marketers need to understand that shiny technology is not always a must-have and, more often than not, can impede good communications. What’s necessary, rather, is fundamental understanding of what your organization’s discrete needs are and what solutions best solve those needs. Just because a big player has its own solution for emailing needs, for example, doesn’t mean it’s going to work better than a small, nimble and powerful solution dedicated to that cause. This approach, of course, would require a good deal of cooperation between big and small players. Interoperability and integration are a must. That shouldn’t be a hard sell. Such an open network would create additional value for users and companies alike, much like Apple’s App Store to third-party developers.

Salesforce Pardot – Driving Lead Generation
Who doesn’t need more leads? Lead generation is always a hot topic for marketers, as that’s where the value of an organization’s marketing strategy really comes into play. The more, high-quality leads your marketing team generates, the happier your sales teams are, the more deals you close, the more revenue you drive. It sounds simple, but it’s often a difficult thing to get just right. That’s where we come in. We know that marketers are striving to generate better quality leads in higher volume, and marketing automation is a tool that can really help both marketing and sales organize around that goal. As those lines between the two teams blur, it’s a single source of truth that can bring the teams together around things like what a qualified lead looks like, the lead pass process, and how to deal with cold leads. It gives marketing and sales the power to talk to each other and speak the same language while they build out new strategies that will help both teams succeed.

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