Sales and Marketing Alignment Secrets From SunGard’s Christine Nurnberger

Christine Nurnberger

Christine Nurnberger

Where does marketing end and sales begin?

With increasingly self-educated buyers, the roles of sales and marketing are becoming harder to define and distinguish. The most successful teams marry the two functions as closely as possible.

Christine Nurnberger, the award-winning VP of marketing at SunGard Availability Services, has mastered the science of aligning marketing with sales. She was kind enough to share some of her proven secrets with XANT.

“It has to be a joint effort across the entire sales funnel,” Nurnberger said. “We align the marketing team with sales quota.”

No lead left behind

One of the biggest challenges facing the modern sales organization is psychological. If your sales reps don’t believe in your leads, they will never wring maximum value from them, Nurnberger said.

If you send too many leads to your sales reps, you sacrifice quality and they lose faith in all of your leads, which means they miss some of the good ones.

That’s why Nurnberger’s marketing team calls leads to verify authority, need, timeline and budget.

“We never send raw leads to sales,” she said. “We only send them qualified leads.”

Sales and marketing use a service-level agreement (SLA) that gives sales reps 48 hours to acknowledge a new lead and two weeks to determine if it’s a legitimate sales opportunity. They must either accept it, reject it with a valid explanation, or send it back to marketing for more nurturing.

“They have confidence in the leads we are sending them, so they work them harder,” Nurnberger said.

A beautiful mind

Here’s the crazy thing about Nurnberger’s success: She maintains a maniacal focus on revenue without shunning creativity.

The executives who SunGard wants to reach are inundated with sales pitches on a daily basis. And enterprise technology isn’t always sexy.

Nurnberger needed to break away from the noise by infusing her marketing with a sense of excitement and humor while keeping it relevant to business objectives.

Her team rolled out a zombie apocalypse campaign aimed at hard-to-reach IT buyers. The multiday campaign sent prospects a zombie survival kit with a backpack, a book, a flash drive and some SunGard collateral asking strategic questions like these:

  • If the zombie apocalypse hit, would your business survive?
  • Is your data backed up?
  • Is your IT infrastructure secure?

By blending zombies with business outcomes, SunGard connected with its buyers in a way that traditional, tech-heavy marketing messages never could.

“We had the biggest response from C-level and senior executives,” Nurnberger said.

MarketingSherpa covers the zombie campaign, which won a Stevie Award, in greater detail here.

The power of marketing automation

When we asked Nurnberger to name the one project or initiative she has implemented in her career that has had the most demonstrable impact on sales results, she said it was adopting marketing automation software.

This software allows her to track leads all the way to closed deals in her Salesforce CRM.

“That’s what gives marketers credibility with the C-suite,” Nurnberger said. “That’s what gives us a seat at the table because we can show leadership exactly how marketing drives sales results.”

See how XANT accelerates sales through science in the video below.

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