Another day, another dollar wasted in demand generation. Why? Sales and marketing misalignment. We know not every sales and marketing team are Best Friends Forever (BFF) but why not? The reality of sales and marketing misalignment results in poor marketing return on investment, slow pipeline growth, poor lead conversions and most certainly, loss of revenue.
How to fix the problem and foster a better relationship between sales and marketing, even if it’s not BFF status? A conversation is a great way to start. I don’t mean about the weather, about your buyers, their challenges, their buying committee, what defines a qualified lead and the whole lead management process.
According to a 2014 article in MarketingProfs, Are Demand Generation and Sales Teams Aligned only ten percent of companies say they are completely coordinated in demand generation and sales training. Only ten percent is not a good number to support a growing business. The good news is that the numbers can only go up from there.
How to develop better alignment between the teams in three steps?
- Define Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) JOINTLY – Marketing and sales have unique experiences and ideas on who makes the best prospects and customers. Sit down with sales and marketing and get to the heart of what defines your Ideal Customer. What drives them? What titles convert faster or better (base this off data, not gut feel). Dig in to understand who makes up their buying committees. Do this jointly and you already have a better alignment than if marketing came up with ICP on their own. It takes both teams to do this effectively.
- Identify Lead Stages- What defines a lead? What about a qualified lead, sales qualified or sales accepted lead? Ideally, enable both teams to help define the lead stages, but at the very least, agree on the terminology. An understanding of lead stages or adoption of the lead methodology (SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall™) makes marketing and sales alignment possible.
- Establish and AGREE UPON Service Level Agreements (SLA) – What happens once a lead is generated or qualified and when does it happen? What are the steps each team takes (either manually or via marketing automation) to engage with the lead. Define who and what must follow-up on the leads and in what timeframe. This eliminates the feeling that someone dropped the ball (or lead) and ensures leads follow the defined process to bring it to close. According to a report by Aberdeen Group, best in class organizations that have tight marketing and sales alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate. On the flip side, organizations that do not have alignment have a four percent DECLINE in revenue. Which do you want to be?