As a marketer, responsible for generating leads, do you ever get frustrated with the sales team for the way in which they follow up, or don’t follow up the leads?
As a sales person, responsible for closing the leads that marketing provide, do you ever get frustrated with the poor quality of the leads, or lack of leads provided?
The disconnect between marketing and sales maybe the reason your company isn’t achieving it’s revenue goals. One solution is for marketing and sales to align, and work together to achieve their lead, customer and revenue goals. Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group indicates that when marketing and sales communicate, and work together they are more likely to achieve their goals, and grow revenue targets. Alternatively the research also indicates that companies that don’t have marketing and sales alignment see a decline in revenue.
The purpose of that article is to give you some practical tips on how marketing and sales can align their goals, improve communication and ultimately close more leads into customers.
Getting Started With Sales and Marketing Alignment
Both marketing and sales need to agree on the definition of a lead at each stage in the buying process. A lead to marketing may be very different to sales. So it’s important that leaders from both departments get together to agree on the description and qualification of a lead at each stage of the buying process. What characteristics, such as: company description, size, revenue, job title, location, engagement, interest, need, urgency, budget etc are important and define the different stages of a; lead, marketing qualified lead and sales qualified lead. Reviewing historical data on which leads are likely to convert into customers is a great place to start – if you have it. Your end goal is to have both marketing and sales agree on the definitions.
Together sales and marketing should agree on the numbers and conversion rates. Use historical data if available. Otherwise, look at what is realistic for your industry. The best way to work this out is to work backwards. First agree on revenue targets, and then where that revenue will come from. How many customers, how much will they spend and how often? Are these new customers or existing customers? Both teams should then agree on what is a realistic conversion rate for sales to convert a qualified lead into a customer. Keep working it back from customer, to sales qualified lead, to marketing qualified lead, to new lead. I find it best to be conservative, but challenging, rather than too idealistic.
At this point it might look something like this:
- To meet revenue targets for the company sales and marketing agree on 10 new customers per month.
- Sales say they can convert a sales qualified lead into a customer at 5:1.
- Sales confirm that a sales qualified leads is, for example:
- A company that is located in Australia or New Zealand
- Has annual turnover of $10M+
- Know the contact name, phone number and email of the decision maker, and influencer.
- The lead has watched a webinar, downloaded an ebook and visited your product and pricing pages, within the past 5 days.
Once sales has provided a very clear picture of a sales qualified lead, it is marketing’s role to ensure they have this information before qualifying a lead an SQL. For each criteria assign a value (points), weighted on its importance, and when a lead reaches a certain value they qualify as a sales qualified lead. This is known as “lead scoring’. If you have the marketing tools to do this, you can set up a workflow, notifying the sales department in real time, as soon as a lead qualifies as a SQL. Automating this process improves the efficiency of the marketing team, and the conversion rates for sales because they’re getting the information straight away.
The most effective strategy here is to become transparent with up to date, real time metrics. For marketing and sales alignment to work well both should be using an integrated CRM with closed loop analytics.
Want to learn more about sales and marketing alignment, how marketing can be more accountable, and how this will help you convert more leads into customers? Attend the next HUG event – Hubspot User Group Sydney. This Thursday 13th November, at 5:30p, in Sydney CBD. You can learn more about it here.