I can clearly recall one specific sales meeting I was involved in back in my days as a sales representative for a medical device company.
As a whole, the company failed to grow as much as was expected. Goals were missed, revenues failed to reach projections and, of course, the proverbial “stuff” hit the fan.
Marketing came in to meet with the sales team. Great. Excellent idea. Let’s all get in one room and hash out a plan on how to fix this.
Product managers detailed the group on the new marketing materials we would all have at our disposal. New sales slicks we could hand out. New messaging we would use to better communicate how our products were better than the competition’s. A schedule of when ads would run in industry journals. Etc., etc.
The undercurrent of this presentation left an impression of, “We’ve done our job, now it’s time for you to go out and sell.”
To be sure, that was true. It was time to go out and sell. The problem was that there was a clear silo in place. Marketing did their jobs without much interaction with the sales team, explained what they were doing from time to time and then sort of dropped off the face of the earth, expecting the sales team to do the rest.
It was a problem because better sales and marketing alignment can lead to improved results. Consider this research from Sirius Decisions:
B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three year period. Can't argue with faster profit growth.
So, what can you do as a marketer to make life easier on your sales team?
1) Generate More Leads
If you’re already generating leads through your website congratulations, you’re ahead of the curve. But how do you know if you’re generating enough leads? More is always better when it comes to sales leads, right?
One way to determine how many leads are necessary for sales to hit their goals is to work backwards from the lead-to-customer rate for your business. To simplify this, let’s say you’re currently getting 100 leads per month and your sales team is closing them as new customers at a 5% rate, or 5 new customers per month. If your sales goals are calling for a 20% growth in new business you’ll need to get this number to 6 new customers but that will take 120 leads at the current lead-to-customer rate.
To get here, you’ll need to do a one thing above all else, create more premium content offers, like Ebooks, and offer them up on landing pages. Why? HubSpot has a few statistics that show how:
Calls to action promoting Ebooks get almost twice the click through rate as emails promoting webinars.
Companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7x more leads than those with fewer than 10.
Those with over 40 landing pages got 12 times more leads than those with only 1-5 landing pages.
Want to make your sales team’s life a little easier? Get more Ebooks produced.
2) Help Sales Identify Qualified Leads
One common gripe that sales teams have is that the marketing team is giving them too many low quality leads that take their time away from finding prospects more likely to become a customer. They may have a point. Gleanster Research reports that only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales.
With a modern marketing platform today’s marketers can help develop criteria that identifies leads who are most likely to be a good fit for a company’s products or services. By assigning values to these criteria a lead scoring methodology is established.
For example, I used to work at a company that marketed bone grafting materials to dental specialists who were placing dental implants. The sales team knew that any lead that was an oral and maxillofacial surgeon was more likely to become a good customer than a lead who was a general dentist because they generally placed more dental implants. A lead scoring system would assign a higher value to oral surgeons in this case.
Make life easier on your sales team by identifying quality leads and getting them to the sales team when it makes the most sense.
3) Align Lead Qualification With the Sales Process
As your company starts to generate more and more leads it becomes important to separate those who are in the early stages of their Buyer’s Journey from those who are getting close to making a purchase decision. The best salespeople may be able to talk to prospects at any stage in this process, offer helpful advice and turn them into a genuine sales opportunity.
It will help the entire sales team to have an understanding of where their prospects are in the Buyer’s Journey and enable them to reach out more effectively and tailor those conversation based on that prospect’s needs.
Embrace Sales and Marketing Alignment
These 3 little things can help make life a lot easier on your sales team. And frankly, they’ll make life easier for you as well. As your company gets more sales and hits more goals life gets good. For sales and marketing teams alike.