There is a disconnect between marketing and sales teams in almost every company, and it is a killer for lead generation and qualification. The reality for most fast moving businesses is that marketing and sales teams operate with different goals and fail to identify how to best support one another. In fact, according to Forrester, only 8% of companies have strong alignment between their sales and marketing departments. Neglecting to align planning efforts and capitalize on opportunities leads to execution misfires and wasted effort. It also negatively impacts revenue.
Marketing is tasked with creative product and brand messages that are baked into the brains of prospects. Through content, email, digital channels, and other sources, marketing is trying to capture the attention of potential buyers and turn it into a hot lead. Yet, while marketing is doing this, they may not be taking into account the needs of sales.
1. Poor marketing and sales coordination creates bad leads
This is the essence of the disconnect; marketing needs to create messages and content that are consistent with the goods and services that sales is actually selling. Unless there is a disciplined effort to bridge marketing and sales, a company may be targeting the wrong people and wasting time trying to convert bad leads. Changing this dynamic can have a huge impact; research from Marketo indicates that aligning sales and marketing can help generate 209% more revenue from marketing efforts. Clearly, it’s worth the effort.
In the absence of effective lead qualification, go-to-market teams measure for quantity, not quality. But this just burdens sales development teams with more work, much of which may be wasted effort. So even if marketing creates more leads, if those leads are poor quality, the entire buyer journey is misaligned. The objective should be for a system where marketing creates effective content to engage the right audience, and for sales to increase velocity in closing those leads. Bridging that gap is the key to getting the most out of both marketing and sales efforts.
2. Improve sales and marketing communication
A great deal of the inefficiency between marketing and sales has to do with communication; mostly because there isn’t any. Poor communication creates two sales killers that can cripple a company’s lead conversion efforts; lack of sales and marketing communication costs companies almost $1 trillion every year, according to Salesforce. The rapid nature and the increasing sophistication of buyers means that companies have only a short time to attract those with short attention spans. To educate and transform leads further down the buyer lifecycle requires an effective strategy for communicating WHAT content needs to be created, WHERE it should be populated, and to WHOM it should be delivered.
For starters, the sales and marketing teams can start to put their heads together around prospect objections. If there is a process for cataloging those objections, sales can provide that to marketing, along with context, and marketing can begin to develop a content strategy that addresses these objections. With that vantage point, they can build corresponding content assets, and should do so in a way that demonstrates the product and its value. Doing this will provide enough of an introduction to the product/solution, which will help sales; they won’t have to start at square one. The important thing here is to show, don’t tell; give the prospect a reason to want to know more. This can be most effectively done through highly visual ebooks, blogs, and infographics. Marketing should also create videos, podcasts, and other highly engaging formats for demonstrating products and how they work.
3. Outsource for lead conversion
With effective processes for collecting feedback and generating content, it’s surprising how many organizations still fall short in converting leads. This hand-off can become a black hole, but disciplined companies have figured out how to outsource. Consider it this way: marketing understands the prospect audience, can find them, and then engage them, and once this starts moving in a continuous motion, they will be in a better position to move these leads to sales.
The middle stage of lead response includes smart and targeted follow up, nurturing, and conversion is time consuming and takes constant iteration and improvement to be effective. But by being focused, a solution like Agentology works leads into opportunities that can be delivered, with background and intelligence, to salespeople who are most effective when they are closing.
The outsourcing stage of lead conversion is optimized through integration of backend CRM and marketing automation tools so the right customer data is being worked. The integration of these apps and data sources builds trends and other informative data points that help both marketing and sales refine their processes.
4. What sales and marketing alignment looks like
In an ideal world, sales and marketing teams sit together, communicate constantly, and use lessons from each other’s worlds to inform their efforts. The reality, however, is that speed is critical and we often act before we have all available (or necessary) information. Yet, efforts to improve the relationship between these two teams can have incredibly impactful benefits. Marketo says that sales and marketing alignment can help your company become 67% better at closing deals. So it’s clearly worth the time and effort to find a way to make this work.
You can do this by finding days to share data, campaign strategies, and messaging information. Try using informal lunch-and-learns, or regular stand-up meetings. Consider a “buddy system” that pairs marketing and sales people together in a tag-team effort at knowing and servicing prospects. Help these teams accentuate the positives, outsource time consuming tasks, and build your company into revenue-generating, customer-first, leading brand.