It’s weird. Most company’s business objectives are pretty clear – make money as efficiently as possible. But misalignment between sales and marketing can sometimes get in the way of that goal. With the right attitude, process and tools, these two departments can work seamlessly together to supercharge results. Here are some tips and thoughts.
- Sit down and talk about demand generation objectives with both teams. Then work back from needed revenue through your waterfall to set your metrics. If you’re revenue goal is $20 million, start there. And then look at your current conversion metrics and plug it in. Don’t be tempted to fiddle the numbers to make it balance – you want an honest picture. If only 6% of your MQL’s convert to meetings, you can’t say that 20% will magically start to convert. And if you’re currently closing business from 5% of your meetings, don’t set that objective at 10%. Once you lay out the math, take a hard look. Can sales make their numbers with the current lead volume? Does marketing have the budget to supply the needed leads? If not, where can you test to improve results, where do you need to compromise, or where can you get the budget needed?
- Next, align on definitions of each lead stage. Terms like “ lead”, “prospect” and “qualified lead” can mean a lot of things. For example, what is a lead? Anyone with a pulse? Someone who had one interaction with your company like an asset download or tradeshow scan? Or something else? What about a “qualified lead”? Certain company size or industry or title? Some level of engagement? What exactly is an “opportunity” – 80% closed? BANT qualified? Had a demo? Document these so that everyone is speaking the same language.
- Next, take some time to focus on what your prospect might want. You need them to play along, so what will move them down the pipeline to buy? Is it a quick reach out for a demo? Or more likely, educational content to help them understand your product’s benefits? A special promotion? A case study where they can see your product in action? Take the time to create a prospect content map and the offers to go with it. You’ll have higher conversions and importantly, you won’t burn leads by sending the dreaded “checking in”.
- Now use all of that to develop killer campaigns. Every single touch has to be meaningful to where your prospect is in their journey and tie back into your sales and marketing goals. This takes discipline. If someone in the C-Suite wants a full house at a webinar, but the event doesn’t have benefit for every prospect, you may have to push back on a blast to the whole database. Ditto if sales is behind in call volume and wants to take brand new, very raw leads and try a cold call campaign. Hyperfocus on objectives and prospect experience will ultimately mean higher conversions and most importantly, not burning leads.
- Once you have the contact strategy, now it’s time to see if any tools or processes will make it easier for the team. Would it be a better prospect experience and help sales if marketing provided follow up email copy that goes with each campaign? Would more leads convert if sales took time to hyper-personalize each follow up? How about a sales outreach tool or chatbot? These things can make follow up more automatic and maximize time and conversion.
- Once you have programs in place, track how you’re doing. Set up reporting that tracks to your objectives and see if it’s working. If it’s not, test to refine. Besides the objectives set earlier, also make sure all leads get touched and that you regularly review email stats to see if certain offers have high unsubscribe rates (which could mean your offer is off track). And don’t forget to schedule regular meetings between sales and marketing to review new campaigns, lead quality and just talk about how it’s going.
- Last tip – make sure KPIs for both marketing and sales don’t inadvertently break the focus on revenue and customer experience. Marketing incentives for things like total number of campaigns, user conference registrations and even clicks can mean that marketing loses focus on communications that both mean something to the prospect and convert to sales. Ditto for outbound volume quotas for sales. If they don’t have leads that are ready for sales outreach, it could mean that sales starts sending emails to prospects who aren’t ready or interested. Which could mean an unsubscribe. Use your KPI’s to support your objectives and adhering to process instead.
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