Startup Blog

HubSpot Internal Marketing Memo "Advice on Working with Sales"

Posted by Mike Volpe on 7/31/12 10:03 AM

Here is an internal email that I just sent to all of our "segment marketers" (also called "mini-CMOs") who are the marketing leads for each segment (a teams of sales and marketing folks that target a specific customer profile such as small business, SMB or enterprise).  This is a newly created position, and organizationally, we're still figuring it out.  Some of the marketing folks in this job are having the typical challenges of a new CMO / Director / VP of marketing where sales is running over them to other folks int he organization if they are not happy with some small thing.

When sending this email out, I thought it was generally applicable to marketers everywhere, so I thought I would share.  Note that "Roberge" = Mark Roberge, our SVP of Sales and "Halligan" = Brian Halligan, our CEO.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mike Volpe
Date: Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Subject: Advice on Working with Sales
To: Segment Marketing Team

A few issues around sales / marketing alignment are bubbling up to Roberge and over to me, like concerns around lead quality or lead types from the sales managers.  Don't get upset about this, we hire sales folks because they are not good at taking "no" for an answer.  You want this quality in your sales team, trust me.  But, the goal for the segment alignment is to avoid this as much as possible and have you guys work with the sales managers directly to drive great results in each segment.  If every little thing becomes a Volpe/Roberge issue, we are not scalable.  You guys are a key part of our growth strategy!
Suggestions for improving this situation:
  1. Market your marketing.  Often sales does not know what you are doing to make them successful.  By marketing to them the things you are working on you both give them an opportunity to give some feedback but you also build their understanding.  Apply your external marketing expertise to your internal efforts for your sales team.
  2. Deliver on the numbers.  All of my challenges with Roberge and Halligan go away when the numbers are good.  If there are a lot of leads, they are good quality and sales is selling well, I can kind of do whatever I want.  If those things are not true, I get a lot of scrutiny and spend a lot more of my time selling and justifying what I am doing.
  3. Build sales' confidence in you.  Part of being a great marketer is earning the trust and confidence of your sales team.  If they trust you they will give you more leeway.  There are things I do that Mark would not agree with, but I have earned his trust over 6 years and he knows that more often than not, I do the right things.  This will take time, but you should work on it.
  4. Tell them the buck stops with you.  I am trying to be clear that the path is not from you to me, but you guys have the authority to make decisions and you really run these segments.  You should be clear about this as well.  Partner with the sales managers to attack problems together, keep communication open, and work as a team.
  5. Hold sales accountable.  Sales and marketing alignment is a two way street.  Just as they hold you accountable for lead volume and quality, you should hold them accountable for working the leads effectively and wringing as much revenue out of them as possible.
  6. One Idea: You guys might want to find a time to do lunch or drinks / dinner with the sales managers on your team and yourself and me?  We can use this as an opportunity to start to do the things listed above... 


What do you think?  Do you have any advice for our segment marketing team?  Let them know in the comments.

Mike Volpe

Written by Mike Volpe

Mike Volpe is a startup advisor and angel investor based in Boston.

Topics: lead generation, strategy, marketing

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