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Aligning Incentives mean Sales and Marketing know they are in it together, Says GE Health CMO

· marketing,social media,investors,digital

12 months ago, the global CMO of GE Health moved all his field marketing staff to the same sales incentives as the organisation’s sales people.

“They know they are in it together. If the sales people aren’t getting what they need and hitting their numbers, my marketing people don’t either.” Glenn Thomas, CMO of GE Healthcare told Which-50 between sessions at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco in April 2018.

The move reflects how the relationship between sales and marketing has evolved as digital has altered B2B marketing strategies to cater for new buying journeys. For GE Health, which develops and sells medical device technologies to healthcare providers, that means building brand awareness and engagement well before the customer interacts with a salesperson.

Thomas said the relationship was now much stronger but that there’s still a lot more that needs to be done to align sales and marketing.

In the past marketing’s job was organising the right events or the right collateral so sales could be the hero, he says.

“It was all about getting the customer and the salesperson together in the right setting and providing the right mood music,” Thomas said.

That is shifting to an increased appreciation from the sales organisation about the leads coming into the funnel, Thomas says.

“We all have this well understood idea that customers have pretty much done their research and made a decision before a sales guy turns up. So part of the job of marketing is to make sure you are top of their mind and make sure you take them as far along that journey as you can before a salesman is sitting in front of them.”

That puts additional responsibility on the marketers because they need to make sure they’ve been there throughout the awareness and consideration stages of the journey so “as it gets towards the final leg you are in the race and you’re being considered.”

Advertising aren't going away - but they are being shaped by technology

Advertising is still absolutely critical and - when well executed - delivers strong ROI, Thomas says. In the medical technology industry, marketing has been about getting the technology in front of the customer so they can feel it and play with it. That interaction is still important, but Advertising are getting better integrated with social media campaigns.

"We are getting a lot better at "digitally wrapping" the advertising. It's the native experience when you are viewing content about our products, the pre-engagement and post-engagement [before and after] results generated when the campaign starts and finishes, " Thomas says. "Otherwise you just can't measure the impact, you don't know if the right people are looking at your content, you don't know if that campaign was truly helpful to increase brand awareness and equity, metrics that help the sales people. Advertising isn't going away, it's just digitalise and disguising them alittle bit more."

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