Jennifer Presents at Virtual Keynote on Sales and Marketing Alignment

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Jennifer Presents at Virtual Keynote on Sales and Marketing Alignment

 

It's a classic Dilbert cartoon plot line and sadly is very common in so many companies: misalignment between marketing and sales causing waste, confusion, distrust, and poor customer experience.

Whether you are a CEO, head of marketing, or head of sales, find out what misalignment may be costing you and steps you can take to bring the customer back into the center of your business strategy and get sales and marketing working together in active partnership to grow the business.

See a recent presentation that I gave for OnConferences here.

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Align or Die: 4 Reasons To Align Sales And Marketing Now

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Align or Die: 4 Reasons To Align Sales And Marketing Now

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This article was originally published on Forbes.

It’s the chronic, and often fatal, disease of business: sales and marketing misalignment.  I, like you, have seen it done well and poorly in my career as marketing leader and CMO. I have also experienced the impact of poor alignment myself, as a consumer and as a customer of B2B goods and services. Although it has been an issue since the creation of the modern enterprise, there are reasons to believe that this chronic disease is getting more deadly.

1. Your Customers Are Changing

An increasing percentage of your customers, even technical buyers in B2B product categories, are wanting to disintermediate your sales team and gather information about products and services online and on their own, according to Forrester. In 2017, the percentage of customers expressing this “don’t call me, I’ll call you” preference was 68%. This represents a 28% increase over the 2015 survey just two years earlier. In fact, only 16% said that they find interacting with a sales rep superior to self-service research.

Mary Shea, Ph.D., principal analyst at Forrester Research , said it even more strongly. “If marketing and sales aren’t aligned and if they don’t collaborate, they will be disintermediated. By buyers themselves who find other ways to get what they need or by more agile competitors," she challenged.

The data would suggest it is already happening.  This puts more pressure on marketing to facilitate increasingly sophisticated customers through a funnel (or around a pin-ball machine, to depict it more accurately) without direct engagement with sales.

2. Misalignment Hurts Your Customers

Forty-three percent of B2B marketing decision-makers report that their companies have lost sales as a consequence of not having necessary content at the right time for a specific customer and 77% of the rest have experienced costly delays, according to Forrester (Q1 2017 International B2B Marketing Panel).

This is further complicated by the fact that more people are involved in the decision-making process than before. Committees, panels, and groups are replacing individuals and making it more difficult to identify the influencers and meet all their needs. This is certainly true in B2B sales, but even consumers are sharing their e-commerce or subscription accounts with more people in their household and decision-making processes can fragment at home, too.

Despite this, shockingly, only 24% of organizations calibrate on the definition of target segments or accounts that will apply to both the sales and marketing organizations (per Forrester’s Q1 2018 Marketing Benchmark survey). How can we jointly hit a target, if there is more than one?

This lack of alignment is hurting your customers and impacting your top line.

3. You Are Wasting Money And Time

Sangram Vajre, chief evangelist at Terminus and former head of marketing at Pardot (now owned by SalesForce.com), asked a provocative question: “if only 1% of leads convert to opportunities, does that mean that 99% of marketing is wasted?”

Of course, it’s an unfair question as marketing is often responsible for strategy, channel, brand building, communications, and community engagement which may not directly relate to lead conversion, but if there isn’t cooperation on customer acquisition, where else in value chain might alignment be broken?

“Without shared goals and real-time data sets to drive decisions and investment prioritization, you have to wait for feedback from sales which may be late, anecdotal and with an agenda,” added Shea. “Marketing leaders can, and should, know what content, sales tools and campaigns are driving growth.”

If there is any doubt about what is driving your growth, then undoubtedly you are wasting time and money and that is impacting your bottom line. A bottom line that is getting more attention.

4. Your Boss Cares About It – Deeply

Forty-eight percent of CEOs say that poor alignment and collaboration will be a major marketing challenge over the next 12 months, according to Forrester. And those CEOs are looking hard at CMOs to lead the improvements.

The tenure of chief marketing officers is one of the shortest in the C-suite (per Korn Ferry) and there will be continued pressure and accountability around alignment, especially in times of transformation and change. Vajre agreed that high CMO turnover could be a sign of poor sales and marketing alignment. “If sales fall and budgets are squeezed, everyone pays,” he observed.

Shea concluded that “if you are doing sales and marketing the same way you did 3-5 years ago, you won’t survive.”

Now is the time to take your business’ vital signs and ensure that you have the alignment that you need to sustain and grow, putting your customer in the center of your strategy. As a starting point, look for evidence of customer preference changes in your business, create a common goal set and customer target, use real-time data for decision-making, and regularly report on joint progress.

 

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Jennifer to Contribute to Forbes

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Jennifer to Contribute to Forbes

Starting this month, I will begin contributing for Forbes.com writing about customer-centric marketing and the alignment of sales and marketing. My work for the CMO Network will highlight who does it best and what we can learn from their success.

You will be able to access all my articles and follow my work here.

I am very excited about writing for Forbes.com, as this topic has the potential to impact so many businesses and their customers. We've all seen it done well and done poorly and had it impact our experience as a consumer or business customer.

Knowing that every company and organization has room to improve, I will be focusing on success stories from across a wide variety of industries, organization types, and business models. I want to use this column to amplify best practices that have helped build brand, serve customers, and facilitated growth.   

Even before my first article is published, I have already had the privilege of interviewing top researchers in the field, as well as practitioners in marketing, sales, and general management leadership roles.  I am anxious to share what I am learning along the way.  Follow my articles, like, comment, and share which will help direct me to how I can help you become better at your craft.

I am also mindful and grateful of my friends, colleagues, and mentors, and now my editors, who have so generously helped me make this platform possible. Special thanks to Moira Vetter with ModoModo, Dan Bruton, Susan Clark, and Kami Toufar especially in their encouragement along the way. 

As leaders and customer advocates, we have an opportunity and responsibility to continue to  learn from the best and develop ourselves and our teams to better serve our customers. I sincerely hope that my articles help and inspire you in this worthy mission.

P.S.  If you know of companies or organizations who align internally and focus on customers particularly well, I welcome your recommendations and introductions. They can connect with me on my blog, Twitter or LinkedIn. As this is a side endeavor for me, and there is much ground to cover, I ask in advance for your patience with me as I follow up on these recommendations. 

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On Choice

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On Choice

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“We only see what we look at.  To look is an act of choice.”  John Berger, Ways of Seeing

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Courage Eats Confidence

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Courage Eats Confidence

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I recently heard Beau Lotto, the neuroscientist whose TED talk on illusions has generated over 5 million views, speak at a conference* during which he said:

“courage is more important than confidence”

As I have been reflecting on this in my own life and work, including the current search for my next career step, I think he is right. If you are given the choice to be confident or courageous, you should always choose courage.

Confidence is believing you can. Courage is knowing that you might fail, but doing it anyway.

Confidence’s posture is upright, which makes it fragile. Confidence can’t fail. Courage leans into the wind, gets up when it falls down, and is more resilient.

Confidence is proud and can push others away. Courage is vulnerable and draws others in.

Confidence can be external facing, seeking the approval of others. Some acts of courage are public and heroic, but many are private and quiet. Doing the right thing, even when it is hard and no one is looking.

Confidence is complete and closed off to learning new things. Courage requires it.

Confidence requires prior relevant experience (otherwise it starts slipping into the danger zone of “over confidence”). Courage can forge it’s own path.

Confidence is a feeling. Courage is a decision to act.

In your own life, in your family, in your business, and in our communities, how can we put our personal and societal pressure for confidence aside, and instead cultivate more courage? 

*The conference was TIDE (Technology, Innovation, Design, and Experience) produced by Avixa in conjunction with the InfoComm show. Amazing event. You should go!

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

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Focus

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Focus

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“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

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BridgeSpan Media Presents Home Entertainment Research at InfoComm

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BridgeSpan Media Presents Home Entertainment Research at InfoComm

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Prior to the official start of InfoComm 2018, Avixa will host the first ever Integrated Life conference.  On the afternoon of June 5th, Jennifer Davis, on behalf of her consulting business, BridgeSpan Media together with Canvas Research, will share some new and exclusive research conducted for this event.

In May 2018, a small sample of high net worth US households were surveyed highlights were shared at the conference.  This summary research was conducted to inform a larger study that is being designed to delve deeper into trends, purchase motivations, and to provide a larger sample that would allow for regional insights (as homeowners in Dallas or Los Angeles face different issues than those in Chicago or Manhattan).

Use the Contact form on this website (or a direct message via Twitter) to express interest in the full research report once it becomes available.  It will provide insights for the whole value chain from manufacturing brands to integrators and resellers providing local design, installation, and support.

Contact the research team at Avixa to share your interest in the residential market, as we partner with them on these efforts.

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Jennifer Shares Hiring Strategies in Virtual Keynote

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Jennifer Shares Hiring Strategies in Virtual Keynote

Marketing holds the potential to drive business strategy and growth for the long-term, but only if you have the right talent in your organization. 

I had a chance to share some thoughts and techniques on how to hire marketers with great strategic thinking and business skills to build out your leadership teams.  This keynote presentation is now available on OnConferences, a virtual conference featuring business leaders across multiple industries and functional disciplines.

In this talk, I share the advice I give to CEOs when they are hiring marketing talent.  This same advice applies up and down the organization to make sure you have the strategic horsepower to fuel your growth.

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Presentation at GeekOut on Marketing Technology

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Presentation at GeekOut on Marketing Technology

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I recently spoke at the GeekOut on Marketing Technology hosted by the Technology Association of Georgia.  As promised, here is the presentation with resources and references of case study examples noted.  There is so much more to know about each of these case studies and the portfolio work of the talented firms I mentioned.  Happy exploring! Download here.

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Retire the Bubble Wrap

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Retire the Bubble Wrap

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Dogged pursuit of our goals is what sets winners apart from the also rans. Developing mental toughness isn’t just about being resilient. It’s not just about enduring.  It’s also about training yourself to access your reserve tank when you think you just can’t go any further. 

I attended a seminar hosted by 22squared which featured the author, entrepreneur, music lover, and ultra marathoner, Jesse Itzler. His high energy presentation talked about how you can develop your grit.

We all think we know our limits. Whether you’re pushing your body, mind, or spirit, there’s always that moment when you feel like tapping out. We think we know our limits, but in fact, we lie. To get past that point, Jesse explains a perspective-altering rule he learned from a Navy SEAL who came to live with for a month:

He would say that when your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done. And he had a motto: If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it. And that was his way of every day forcing us to get uncomfortable to figure out what our baseline was and what our comfort level was and just turning it upside down. We all have that will. It’s just a matter of how we apply it not just to the once-a-year marathon, but to a variety of things in our daily lives.

Mental blocks take many forms:

  • The rational arguments (“I don’t want to injure myself” or “no need to over do  it”)
  • The empathetic encouragement from a spouse, friend, or co-worker (“come here and rest” or “it’s okay not to finish”)
  •  It can take the form of entitlement (“I earned a little rest and relaxation”) or self-doubt (“I can’t do any more”)
  • It is often accompanied by justifications that give up the control of what you think about your efforts to others (“My boss will understand how hard this is” or “Everyone knows that I did everything I could”)
  • Sometimes we throw in the lame excuse in the mix (traffic, weather, you choose)
  • And sometimes we throw in the unhelpful or incomplete comparison (“I have done more than everyone else”)

These mental blocks - when your brain taps you on your shoulder reminding you of your discomfort and pointing you towards the exit - can occur anytime your goal isn’t bigger than your obstacles or your love of comfort (literally your comfort, or your comfort zone, figuratively). 

To achieve our best we have to tamp down our inner sloth of laziness, the inner gremlin of criticism, and the ever-helpful voice in our heads that wants you to wrap us in bubble wrap to protect us from the bruises of effort. Instead, surprise them all with our resolve. Remind them that you aren’t fragile. Turn that resolve into actions. Actions of how we spend our time, our money, and our energy to accomplish really amazing things reserved for those who put in the effort.

The next time you feel like giving up, slacking off, or tapping out, instead retire your bubble wrap and realize you’ve still got 60 percent left.

You can find Jesse’s New York Times best-selling book, Living with a Seal: 31 days training with the toughest man on the planet, at your favorite reseller. Mine is on order.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

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Jennifer to Speak at InfoComm Integrated Life

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Join Jennifer on June 5 from 3:45 PM - 4:45 PM for a panel discussion on "Changing Consumer Habits and the Effect on Technology Experiences in Hospitality and Entertainment."  This interactive panel will be part of the Integrated Life program at InfoComm, produced by Parks Associates.

Over the past few years, entertainment habits have shifted dramatically, ranging from streamed content to immersive interactivity. Today’s behaviors and preferences related to audio and video experiences are very different from habits of only a few years ago. New devices and greater interactivity affect perception of in-home AV needs for the newest generation of consumers and influences their expectations at hospitality, dining, or entertainment venues. This session examines the changing consumption habits of consumers and how those changes will affect all areas for AV products, services, and installation.

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Jennifer to Speak at GeekOut on Marketing Technology

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Proud to be among the speakers inspiring innovative and impactful use of digital to drive customer engagement and company growth at the Technology Association of Georgia's GeekOut on Marketing Technology later this month in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Register and find out more at http://www.tagonline.org/events/geek-out-marketing-technology/

I'll be speaking on "Pixels in Places: Digital Marketing Hits High Street in Customer Experiences That are Worth Sharing," sharing how technology in physical environments can further other marketing initiatives when it is considered as part of the larger customer journey.

Other topics of the day include the following:

  • Feeding the Beast: Content Ideation Tools and Case Study (Vlink Solutions)
  • Keeping the Lights on – How Martech Helps (GE Power)
  • The Intersection of MarTech & FinTech (Kabbage)
  • The New Frontier of Channel Management (Schneider Electric)
  • B2B Customers Are People Too! (NanoLumens)
  • Fueling Growth with Technology, Process and People (QASymphony)
  • Maintaining High Touch in the World of High-Tech Marketing (Amy Walker Consulting)
  • Managing a Centralized Tech Stack in a Hyper-Growth SaaS Company (SalesLoft)
  • Cutting Edge Marketing Technology Needs a Classic Foundation (PRGX)
  • Meet Me at the Intersection of Art and Science: How to Monetize Marketing Through Technology (Metric Marketer)
  • Strategy Led Technology Selection: What Agencies and Clients Need to Understand (rDialogue)
  • Engaging Buyers with Digital Mental Darts: Bridging Sales and Marketing with Reverse CRM & Viewer Analytics (Equifax/iFolio)
  • Marketing Technology Tools and Trends (The Swarm Agency)
  • Marketing vs. Technology:  Evolving Landscape and Skills to Succeed (Tropical Smoothie Cafe)
  • The Rules of Audience Engagement for Immersive Technology  (Launch)

See you on the 24th!

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