Get the entire enterprise on board
Every year corporations spend millions of dollars putting together various events attended by their customers, prospects and partners. With such an investment, many executives are wondering if opportunities are being missed in these activities. They aren’t alone. Reasons behind this concern are found in a Harvard Business Review article describing a new B2B landscape. In it the authors argue that “outdated assumptions” about the sales funnel need to be challenged.
In describing this challenge, the article cites studies showing that even in the digital age, two of the top three most influential marketing activities are:
- Direct interaction with the provider, and
Supported by such evidence, the authors chastise executives that are “spending too much time on your smartphone if you believe that the buyer may now be handled predominately online.”
Events are a unique opportunity to align sales and marketing with larger enterprise-wide strategy and targets.
While emphasizing this need for direct involvement with customers, the article points to a larger problem that relates to integrating requirements across the enterprise:
“Playing important roles are events, white papers, and the seller’s website — activities that are typically part of marketing’s domain, not sales. This puts pressure on a notoriously fraught relationship: improving coordination between sales and marketing, two functions that are increasingly interdependent but different in their perspectives and procedures.”
In fact, the marketing–sales relationship was placed in the top concerns listed in a survey of B2B executives.
In talking with our clients, this is what we hear as well. Further examples are seen in various postings such as news about Microsoft's latest reorganization “aimed at breaking down sales and marketing silos”.
The point is that, very often, the missing element in event execution comes from allowing many different silos of the organization to run with disparate plans. While this is not intentional it saps effectiveness from the enterprise at many critical points. To fully harness the potential of events for sales, marketing, and wider strategic goals, the concept of event strategy needs to be approached from a cross-functional enterprise perspective.
This can be remedied, we believe, with effort in the right places and at the right time. For example,implementing an enterprise event management system with a common calendar and shared objectives will go a long way toward knitting different departments onto the same planning page, and align the entire enterprise around your event strategy.
Is your event strategy collaborating and communicating cross-functionally across the enterprise?