Unreasonable? No. Controversial? Maybe. Let the idea sink in for a moment and marinate.
Your sales and marketing team is the engine that drives the profitability of your business. These skilled, creative, driven and increasingly digitised teams bring home the bacon and keep everyone in a job. What if these two teams are unhappy? What if their day-to-day experience of working in your business is negative? How about an increase in staff turnover or worsening engagement scores? Perhaps it isn’t so controversial after all. And here’s why.
What do we mean by poor employee experience?
Employee experience (EX), is the experience or feeling of working as an employee of an organisation. Simply put: what it’s like to work somewhere day-in, day-out.
Pre-pandemic, for the majority of white-collar pros, this meant a combination of employment policies, your workplace, your manager, your colleagues, pay and benefits, training and Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs). Increasingly, since the start of the pandemic, there has been greater emphasis put on hybrid and flexible working, your manager, DEI, employee engagement and wellbeing support.
To use a practical example, imagine that you work for Burnout Plc – a company that maximises profits and insists on 100% office-based work. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a neurosurgeon to work out that engagement may be low; staff work long hours (causing fatigue and stress) and many are scared of catching Covid-19 in the office. Does this sound like the kind of company that has a happy, content and highly-motivated workforce?
For some, possibly in the target driven world of B2B sales (we’re not judging here), sufficient pay and commission may be enough for a while to overcome such feelings. After all, if you go home feeling like a winner every night, that has to feel good, right?
However, as we know, most B2B sales teams cannot and do not work in complete isolation from B2B marketers. Ah yes, the eternal tug-of-war or love-in, depending on the organisation, equals an unhappy marketing team and less leads.
Another cause to unite sales and marketing?
Hold the phone! What if, in some parallel universe, all B2B sales and marketing teams were skipping through fields of barley, on a summer’s day, hand-in-hand? A world where employees are fulfilled, united behind a clear cause and purpose, highly-engaged and motivated to be productive and working towards a greater good. A world where quality leads flow like a waterfall onto the (virtual) desks of sales and conversion rates are through the roof. Commission cheques raining from the heavens and marketers picking up awards as fast as your local ecommerce delivery courier picks up parcels. Ah, what nirvana.
Call me idealistic, but this isn’t the stuff of complete fantasy (okay, so I admit to a bit of creative liberty here – edit, remove fields of barley comment). Nobody wants a workforce with high absenteeism, presenteeism, turnover, mental health issues or low productivity. So, perhaps this is one thing that the CMO and VP of sales can agree on. Even if the relationship needs a little buffing up, there is a win-win for both teams. If both sit around the boardroom table, or at least on a Zoom call with their peers, that’s two people who drive revenue and the bottom line united around a common cause. It’s true that you might not have all the evidence or all the tools to change it today, but let’s get the others onboard for tomorrow.
Improving EX starts at the top
It may sound obvious, but EX really does start with the board, or the owners, depending on the organisation. The organisational design, the organisational culture, the processes, people, technologies and partners you use are all contributing factors. Additionally, the CEO or MD can really set the tone, the vision and the social purpose of the organisation. This is becoming incredibly important as people seek greater fulfilment, which comes from purpose and engagement.
If you are reading this and you are part of a B2B sales or marketing team, you can play a part too. If you have any kind of working group, employee representative or social clubs, consider broaching the subject with your peers. You may find that many people feel the same way. ‘Feel’ is the most important word here. A good EX is a feeling. Feelings are unconscious to you for the most part until they manifest themselves physiologically. Imagine smiling at your desk, getting impassioned in a meeting because you believe in the cause or genuinely being able to say that you had a great day when you get home.
So, it’s time to take your EX seriously. Not only will you create a happier, productive workforce, but you’ll come one step closer to bridging that seemingly endless sales and marketing gap.
To find out more about EX and some ideas on how to measure it, check out this article here.