How To Achieve Sales & Marketing Alignment
At most marketing agencies, the buck stops with the MQL. You pat yourself on the back and assume your demand channels are operating efficiently if you’re able to pass on a high volume of leads to your client’s sales team. Feedback on whether those leads actually convert is either non-existant or shrugged off as a sales problem.
At FullFunnel, upon working with 250+ organizations that are often experiencing a combination of sales and marketing challenges, we’ve come to learn that the alignment between the two departments is often seriously misunderstood or neglected.
Quality Above Quantity
Firstly and most importantly, quantity often does not translate into quality. Filling up the sales funnel is only valuable when those leads fit your client’s ICP and convert down the funnel at benchmark rates. If your leads don’t close, you are simply straining your client’s sales resources and keeping them from productive outreach activities.
Unless your goal is to build awareness, you should be using a sales-defined metric of success in order to ensure your lead generation program aligns with key performance objectives. Even if you have absolutely no control over the sales process, you want to track your leads’ progression down the funnel in order to gain visibility into the channels, campaigns, and tactics that are bringing in the most qualified traffic. We’ve seen ample examples of channels that appear to be performing based on vanity metrics alone. Following the lead from origination to close will allow you to pivot and test in order to build a sustainable, scalable pipeline.
At FullFunnel, we strongly believe in setting account goals at every step of the sales funnel in order to promote transparency and accountability. If you’re setting up a demand generation program from scratch, start with benchmark rates and test your assumptions. When conversion rates change, so too should your goals.
The CRM Is The Source of Truth
Too often, communication between sales and marketing is disjointed, incomplete, or nonexistent. Sales representatives are given leads with little context as to how those leads were acquired, thereby complicating outreach. Their goals and compensation are often based on their ability to convert those leads, with little attention paid to whether the leads were sales-ready to begin with. Marketing analysts, on the other hand, are often told to generate more or better leads, without much context as to where these goals are coming from and what a “better” lead really entails.
Whether we are running a client’s full demand generation process, or handling just sales or just marketing, FullFunnel has found that communication is key to performance and scalability. Weekly check-ins and progress updates are not enough. We strongly believe that a client’s CRM should be the source of truth, and that both sales and marketing should be able to rely on the information inside their systems to guide their strategies.
Sales reps should see where the lead came from, how they’ve interacted with the company, and what stage in the discovery process they are in. They should get instantly notified of high-value, hot leads so they can reach out before it’s too late. Remember, a hot lead doesn’t only mean a lead that has requested a consultation or a demo. If a prospect has downloaded half a dozen white-papers, attended a webinar, and browsed your services page, they’re ready for sales outreach too.
Marketing, on the other hand, needs to rely on the data in the CRM to pull dashboards, examine campaign performance, and make both micro and macro changes to their strategy. Sales reps need to fill out fields and update deal statuses religiously, tagging marketing along the way to provide both quantitative and qualitative feedback on the leads generated through marketing activities.
Have The Uncomfortable Conversations
Sales and marketing departments are notorious for constantly complaining about each other to anyone that will listen, aside from their counterparts. Sales reps will have valid concerns about the ongoing marketing campaigns and how they align with broader revenue objectives, while marketing will question whether their leads are given the proper attention and opportunity to convert into paid customers. Unfortunately, those concerns are rarely brought up during team meetings, because they make for uncomfortable conversations.
At FullFunnel, we embrace radical candor. The more inefficiencies and issues are glossed over, the harder it will be to create a successful demand generation funnel long-term. The key is to bring up sensitive conversations by relying on data instead of anecdotal feedback and personal experience. If the funnel is broken, both sales and marketing should be able to sit down, evaluate the metrics, and make changes based on what the metrics are telling them.
Instead of turning the conversation into finger-pointing and blame shifting, focus on your shared goals and bring up constructive ideas based on hard data that will help everyone succeed.
* * *
At FullFunnel, we understand that demand generation is complex and involves a lot of moving parts. We’ve worked with hundreds of organizations to design, implement, and optimize their sales and marketing programs in order to generate reliable, scalable demand.
If you are experiencing challenges in aligning your sales and marketing strategies and operations, request a free consultation to learn how our experts can help.