My colleague Thor Johnson checks in from the Selling Power Magazine conference over in Vegas, where he was on a panel this week. Thought you'd appreciate the update:
This week, I’m in last Vegas at Selling Power’s Sales Leadership Conference. Why is a marketer here, you may ask? The easy answer is that the sales and marketing cooperation, or alignment, if you please, has become a key theme for salespeople, too. I was on a panel covering just this topic.
Gerhard Geschwandtner, Selling Power’s founder and publisher, led the day with his vision of marketing & sales as a Conversation. No more pitching. No more sales process. Not even the Buyer’s Process. It’s all about The Conversation – and will be. He sees CRM evolving into CIM – Customer Idea Management.
Gerhard had a number of top quality, interesting guests and panelists including Mary Delaney - CSO of Careerbuilders.com, Malcolm Reese - Global Head of Sales for DHL Express, Jim Steel - President of WW Sales for Salesforce.com, David Berman - President, WW Sales for WebEx, John Neeson - Co-founder of Sirius Decisions, Jerry Whalan - VP Sales for the US Postal System, and other sales leaders from ATT, the University of Washington, the Gallup Organization and elsewhere. Tony Rutigliano’s breakthrough management consulting from Gallup years ago while I was with AGENCY.COM in NYC is still fresh in my mind.
Gerhard interviewed Fred Hassan – CEO of Schering-Plough, an extremely successful and thoughtful leader who was all about his people. Hassan’s message to his company is to first earn the trust of their customers. He spoke of leadership, culture, communications and vision – very inspiring. What a leader.
Most of the discussions I had revolved around sales and marketing teams working better together, having mutual contracts on performance, agreeing on definitions, and seeing each other as two halves of the same process – selling your company to customers. It was refreshing. I even snuck in Eloqua’s Digital Body Language theme, which went over well.
On the other hand, I was quickly reminded how many selling teams today are doing all their own cold calling, all their own demand generation, and get relatively little support from an organized marketing team.
We have a ways to go, still.
I was impressed with this valuable conference, a must-attend for any sales leader or anyone who markets to sales organizations.