Sales and Marketing On The Same Page To Drive Revenue – Part 1

Have Sales and Marketing changed their strategies and tactics to address the fact that buyers are buying much differently than they did just five years ago? We talk about how to drive revenue by collaborating with marketing.

Multiple research studies are providing a compass. The studies indicate that over 60 percent of the buying process for many business products or services is concluded before the buyer contacts a sales person. In some product categories the percentages is a lot higher. The roles of Marketing and Sales have to adjust to how the buyer is buying.

While volumes have been written and continue to be written about Sales and Marketing alignment, Cerius tapped the knowledge of its marketing and sales executives for this paper to give CEOs a priority list of questions to start the assessment of their organization.

Do Sales and Marketing agree on what constitutes a qualified lead?

Leads are names and telephone numbers; qualified leads have met basic criteria and gone through a lead-scoring process.

Lead scoring typically involves explicit demographic criteria, such as company size, industry, job title, location, and the prospect’s budget. Implicit criteria monitor the prospect’s behaviors. How many times have they visited the website, or downloaded white papers or demos? Did they tune into a webinar? Click-through a link in email marketing?

Marketing and Sales have to agree on the scoring criteria, as well as what point a lead , often referred to as a marketing qualified lead, is turned over to sales for final qualification and acceptance.

Why it’s important and what it suggests: This is the first step to answering several other important questions. It dictates whether time is spent on immediate follow-up; affects sales forecasts and performance; and helps determine what Marketing must do to nurture leads, and what content needs to be created for that process. You need to know what qualifies a lead before it gets sent for a more costly Sales follow-up.

How many qualified leads does it take to generate revenue?

If you choose just one question to spend time on, make it this one. This is the one that tells you how much gas you need to put in your engine and how far it will take you. With a glance at your dashboard metrics, you should get critical information: average deal size; the revenue target; and the number of deals it takes to reach that target. Your Sales and Marketing team should be able to instantly provide you with the conversion rates for each stage of your Sales and Marketing funnel, telling you the time it takes for a buyer to move through their research and decision-making process. This is your “funnel math,” and it requires a sophisticated funnel calculator to calculate the algorithm consisting of these variables.

Why it’s important and what it suggests:

Knowing the conversion and time delay metrics for each stage of your funnel is the only way to know how many names have to be put into the top of the funnel every period, and how effectively the company needs to process the buyers through the funnel stages.

Does everyone on your marketing team listen to prospects and customers every week?

If you want to sell more widgets to more people, you need to understand those people. Marketing does a good job defining target audiences for planning purposes, but communication – listening – needs to happen on an ongoing basis. Companies who do this are at the top of the revenue pyramid – they create online user groups; do online surveys with rewards such as gift cards; invite customers and prospects onsite; and create and use customer advisory panels. These are just examples of several activities designed to capture and then use feedback.

Why it’s important and what it suggests:

Marketing needs to understand what information prospects want in order to help them through a buying process. How can they design a marketing tool, such as a webinar, if they don’t know what will resonate with the prospect? Why would you not solicit opinions from current customers who have already demonstrated that they are willing to give you their money? You may be missing out on critical incremental revenue opportunities if you don’t take the time to listen to customers and see what they might be willing to pay you (more) for!

Additional Observations on sales and marketing

  • Look closely at your sales and marketing structure. It’s common to have a VP of Sales and Marketing, but finding one executive with equal strengths in both those areas is uncommon. In certain situations this executive may be tempted to spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy on sales because of the pressure and requirement of hitting specific revenue goals. Make sure any weaknesses in his/her skill set and experience are balanced by a strong director of marketing. Conversely, a VP with a strong marketing skill set should be balanced with a strong director of sales.
  • Review your compensation structure. Well-aligned, high-growth companies have found success tying sales compensation in part to how efficiently they move leads through the mid-stages of the funnel, and in part compensating marketing on the number of wins, or win-ratio. The reason you want to pay attention to this is these are the companies that tend to outperform their competitors!

Overall, as stated by one of our interim executives, “Enlightened companies are generating revenue growth by Sales and Marketing working seamlessly together.” Your answers to these questions can help you assess whether your revenue engine needs merely a tune-up, or a major overhaul.

To learn about how Cerius Interim Management can help you, please visit our home page by clicking here.

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