Unlocking Revenue With a Unified Sales and Marketing Approach

Ultimately, the success of any business depends on a consistent flow of new customers and repeat business from existing ones. The achievement of these two initiatives depends almost entirely on the effectiveness of a company’s Sales and Marketing departments. Unfortunately, Sales and Marketing departments frequently operate in siloed roles that foster an adversarial relationship and conflicting goals.

In one silo are salespeople focused on the short-term goals of monthly or quarterly revenue targets. Since only a small portion of their leads are ready to buy within these timelines, the overwhelming majority of leads are discarded without proper follow-up. In the other silo, marketers are working desperately to achieve misleading metrics such as “cost per lead” that encourage them to generate a large number of unqualified leads instead of a more targeted group of high-quality, educated prospects. 

The result of this misalignment of goals and success metrics? A large number of wasted leads, poor sales growth, lackluster marketing ROI and a firestorm of finger-pointing among the departments.  

The solution? Aligning your Sales and Marketing departments to create integrated business development engines in which:

  • Efforts are coordinated
  • Customers assume their rightful place at the center of attention
  • Cost of sales decreases
  • Return on marketing investment (ROMI) increases, and
  • The company prospers.

UNDERSTANDING THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

“80% of marketing efforts to generate leads are wasted and ignored by sales,” said Senior Analyst Harry Watkins of The Aberdeen Group. “Sales spend 25% of their time recreating (often badly) customer-relevant collateral that marketing should have created in the first place. This combination derails efforts on both sides, costing companies millions of dollars annually, while destroying the time and focus needed to collectively and effectively drive sales and revenue.”

In many companies, the lack communication and coordination between the two departments not only leads to wasted effort, but further increases the frustration with each other. For example, marketing may generate a large list of leads, often times with no process in place to qualify those leads before passing them off to Sales. Marketing believe they’re passing along good leads, and that Sales isn’t following up on the lead sufficiently. Sales, on the other hand, feels the leads that Marketing has passed to them aren’t qualified, and when they try to follow up, many of the prospects are not ready to buy or can’t be reached, causing Sales to incorrectly discard the leads.

As the above scenario is repeated, Marketing and Sales’ confidence and satisfaction with each other continues to decrease, resulting in more wasted leads, poor sales growth, lackluster marketing ROI and a firestorm of finger-pointing among the departments. 

ALIGNING SALES AND MARKETING 

Coordinating Sale and Marketing for increased company efficiency and profitability requires breaking down silos to create shared missions, performance measurements, lead qualification standards and communication strategy.

Shared Mission

Develop a company strategy that creates common goals with defined roles for Sales and Marketing. The strategy must encourage and reinforce collaboration between the two and be vital to mutual success. 

Shared Performance Measurement

Set performance measurements for both departments that reinforce the shared mission. Instead of setting one-sided goals that do not directly influence the success of the other department, choose interlocking goals that encourage Marketing and Sales to support each other. For example, Marketing could measure success based on number or percentage of qualified leads generated, resulting in a smaller quantity of higher-qualified leads. Along the same collaborative vein, Sales can be measured based on the percentage of qualified leads converted to sales, encouraging them to follow up on Marketing’s leads.

Shared Lead Qualification Standards

To be effective, Sales and Marketing must agree on what constitutes a qualified lead. Input and buy in from both departments is critical. To do so, start by identifying the ideal customer by determining the characteristics and measurements are common among your existing customer base and common pain points or problems they shared prior to implementing your organization’s product or service solutions. From this point, a consensus on lead qualification criteria should naturally follow.

CREATING A SHARED COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY

Once the shared mission, metrics, and lead qualification criteria is agreed upon, the departments should agree on a communication strategy that outlines how the departments will maintain communication with and develop their prospects.

To begin, Marketing should incorporate tactics into their campaigns to capture qualification information from leads using landing pages, surveys, registration forms and website behavior tracking. These tactics must also be integrated into the company CRM system so that all lead information is tracked and updated automatically. Only when the criteria is met, should leads be passed to Sales for follow up.

For those leads not yet qualified, Marketing should seek Sales’ input in creating lead nurturing campaigns that provide relevant information and keep the company top-of-mind with the prospect as they move along in the buying process.

ENJOYING THE BENEFITS OF SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT

With this systematic approach, lead conversion rates will improve, marketing dollars will be deployed more effectively (raising ROMI), and leads will continue to be engaged until they are ready to make a buying decision instead of falling through the cracks and eventually buying from a competitor.