Who can remember when a state of war was the typical description of how marketing and sales departments got along? If you’ve achieved peace, you’ve made some progress, but please don’t be too satisfied. Peace implies that marketing and sales sit on opposite sides of some important border and they’ve agreed to stop lobbing grenades at each other. What’s needed is something far stronger than mere peace: A seamless strategic alignment.
Companies that have closely aligned sales and marketing teams tend to perform better than those in the same industries without that alignment. A study by Aberdeen Group revealed that 88% of the companies that perform best are the ones that implement closed-loop marketing and that leverage technology to improve marketing efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, a study byMathMarketing concluded that the businesses with the greatest degree of sales and marketing alignment grow faster, close 38% more deals, and lose 36% fewer customers than their non-aligned competitors.
This is why it’s crucial to every company’s success that sales and marketing are communicating regularly and having constructive conversations about how to generate more quality leads and ultimately close more business. The more that sales and marketing can be using the same game plan and roadmap, the higher the chances are for long-term success.
Here are 5 things that your sales and business development teams need to share with marketing each and every month:
1. Customer Feedback
While your sales team is the closest to the customer, sometimes your marketing team is the furthest. This is why it’s crucial to have your sales team relay customer feedback about how your product or service is being received by prospects and customers. If sales can provide marketing with insights into the most common objections the sales team is hearing, marketing can work to develop campaigns or messaging to speak to these concerns and help the sales team close more deals.
2. Quality of Leads
You would think that having a sales funnel full of leads would be a good thing in all cases. However, if that funnel is full of leads that are not sales-qualified, this can actually be worse than having fewer, high-quality leads. How could this be? Well, if you have a funnel full of bad leads, the sales team is spinning their wheels chasing bad leads which leads to lower close rates and a bad taste in their mouth--and the time could have been invested in the good leads. The company loses two ways.
Sales can help marketing improve the quality of the leads by getting involved in the early stages of campaign development and offering to help generate the questions that are asked in contact forms. If lead-quality issues continue, target personas and contact-form questions should be reviewed by sales and marketing each month until lead quality improves.
3. Additional Campaigns Required
Sometimes marketing simply doesn’t have enough firepower to get enough leads for the sales team each month. There might simply not be enough marketing campaigns running to generate sufficient leads. During the monthly recap between sales and marketing it’s important for the sales team to let marketing know if they are not seeing enough leads coming in due to their belief that marketing activity is inadequate.
4. Effectiveness of Campaigns
One thing that needs to be determined early on is an agreement on what the measuring sticks are for each campaign and how many leads should be generated. This can be done by the creation of a Sales and Marketing Service Level Agreement (SLA) that defines lead stages and follow-up procedures.
Having this common language can help sales provide feedback on the number of qualified leads and share insight into what made certain campaigns more effective than others. It’s important that sales and marketing are using the same metrics for determining the effectiveness of campaigns so everybody is using a common language. During the monthly recap between sales and marketing, there should be consideration of how to improve lead quality, conversion rates, and close rates.
5. Future Campaigns
Being on the front lines, salespeople have great insight into what customers are experiencing and prospects are asking about. Who better to help the marketing department determine which products or services ought to be promoted? Having members of the sales team sit in on marketing meetings from time to time during the planning stages can help to ensure that marketing campaigns are designed with lead generation in mind, targeting the right personas and asking the right questions on contact forms and in qualification contacts, whether email or phone.
Congratulations on laying down your arms. But if your sales and marketing teams are only communicating at the company picnic or holiday party, it’s time to make a change. Having an SLA in place and a monthly meeting to discuss the entire marketing-and-sales process is essential to maximizing performance. Is the sales funnel working? Are leads of sufficient quantity and quality? Are the leads deemed sales-qualified truly sales qualified? Is marketing accountable to sales? And just as much, is sales accountable to marketing for how it handles and closes leads?
Don’t merely seek peace. Demand a seamless strategic alignment. You’ll see the difference on the bottom line.
Originally published Nov 20, 2014 3:00:05 AM, updated November 27 2017