Aligning sales and marketing in the manufacturing sector

With digital transformation disrupting even the most traditional industries, creating an urgent need for technology and data to replace spreadsheets, paper catalogs, and face-to-face meetings, the need for sales and marketing alignment — around that technology and data — had never been more pressing.

Based in the mid-west, but with clients around the country, Marge Murphy is leading industrial and manufacturing clients through the simple first steps of alignment and martech and salestech implementation. We caught up with her after HubSpot Inbound, where she led a meet-up group on sales-marketing alignment.

How it started. Out of engineering school, Murphy went to work for a defense contractor, and became involved in technical sales. As an engineer, she became frustrated that it seemed impossible to apply accurate metrics to sales and marketing processes. After a move to Dayton Ohio, she started making sales calls for a manufacturing firm, and she started tracking simple things like the number of phone calls needed to make a sale.

“Fast forward twenty-two years, and here we are today.” The company which she founded, Acadia, works with B2B industrial and manufacturing clients to help them put sales and marketing processes in place that can be analysed.

Digital transformation in manufacturing. The pandemic has created a need for industrial B2B to become digitally mature at great speed. “It’s generational,” said Murphy. “Many times these are family-run businesses, but I find it uncanny that, even in 2011 or 2012 they weren’t starting to say, ‘we have to do something different.’ There has been an uptick in maturity, but I think COVID has really pushed them through the door. Manufacturers are starting to wake up. They have processes for how widgets go down the manufacturing line, but no process for how we lead customers through the buying cycle.”

The attitude has been, if it’s not broke don’t fix it, Murphy explained: but that’s no longer realistic. She spoke to us after a call with a client she was helping migrate from 45 different spreadsheets to marketing automation and CRM tools. “Things were dropping all the time,” said Murphy. She was able to show that the cost of the technology was justified when compared with the losses sustained from inefficient processes.

The sales and marketing silos. Not only does the manufacturing space reflect the common gap between sales and marketing teams and processes. “Part of the characteristic of the space is that often-times they have outside sales reps and distribution channels. But the inside sales teams are often not integrated.”

Murphy worked with clients in Texas and Michigan, each of which had similar silo prolems. “I brought each them into a room together with a big white board and sticky notes to walk through what everyone does, and how they hand off information. When you get them all in a room together and take them through assessing what they’re doing, the Presidents, higher-levels, CEOs start to realize the complexity of what’s going on, and start to understand they have to remove the silos.”

Marketing has information that can make sales more efficient, she explained. Marketing has data on which prospects attended webinars or downloaded white papers. “All that information is available — you just need to open the door to marketing with the right tools in place.”

Murphy helps her clients work with a range of tools, including HubSpot, Salesforce, Salesforce Pardot and Zoho. “Many of the tools are good; the key is understanding how they work together, and how your people are going to work with them.”

For sales, it makes the first phone call much easier. “If you take it a step further, if you incorporate customer service, they too then have the information they need in that platform.” It’s not a question, she said, of forcing them to be on the same page, but generating the “Aha!” moment when they realize they need to be on the same page.

Why we care. Challenges faced by verticals already growing in digital maturity are suddenly confronting verticals that had never really been digital-first. For the sake of the economy, those verticals need to steer the right course.

About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech Today. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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