Create love between marketing and sales - and realise your full profit potential


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Marketers invest in campaigns to create leads. Sales people want leads they can close. So how do you create love between marketing and sales to maximise every opportunity?

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Create love between marketing and sales - and realise your full profit potential

  1. 1. Aligning Sales and Marketing A guide to generating demand – and creating love between marketing and sales.
  2. 2. Buyers don’t care how aligned your sales and marketing departments are so why should you? Well, you care when a prospect doesn’t get followed up, or stops getting communications from you despite meeting all your lead qualification criteria. And you care when a loyal customer doesn’t realise you have a whole other product offering so buys elsewhere. You care about potential business slipping through the cracks between marketing and sales – so making sure there isn’t room for leads to be lost should be high on your agenda. have We me... ...g oals! he sa t Companies with tightly-aligned sales and marketing had 36% higher customer retention rates and achieved 38% higher sales win rates – MarketingProfs Share 2
  3. 3. ME ! ELP ASE H pLE 42% of sales reps feel they do not have the right information before making a sales call – Lattice Engines/CSO Insights In this industry we have been talking about sales and marketing alignment for a number of years and made some good progress. But progress has been too slow and buyers are way ahead of us. Expectations are high in a world where buyers can get what they want in an instant and are used to good customer service. So if they’re looking for you, your marketing and sales teams had better be ready! Share It’s all about sharing We know that marketing and sales are working towards the same goal so why wouldn’t you try to better align their methods for following up leads and converting them to customers? The answer is usually because they view the prospect from different angles. One is trying to generate demand and create volume at the top of the funnel, the other is working 1-2-1 with prospects and building individual business cases to convert them into customers. But the reality is the more they share responsibility for prospects throughout the buyer journey, the more they will realise that their goal is always the same. Longer buyer journeys in B2B are more prone to losing business if leads aren’t recycled or the handshake between sales and marketing doesn’t have any Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure prospects don’t get missed. So in this guide we will be talking you through some of the steps to take to get your sales and marketing teams to think differently about leads at each stage of the buyer journey, and understand how to make the most of every lead that you have worked hard to generate. 3
  4. 4. 3 steps to a long lasting relationship Share 4
  5. 5. 1 Lead sharing The Marketing and Sales handshake If marketing could take the lead through to sale then you wouldn’t be reading this guide. If sales could generate demand whilst focusing on closing individual deals they wouldn’t need marketing. It’s the point that marketing involve sales and the parameters around nurturing leads that are still causing problems in most organisations. So how can this be addressed? Share 5
  6. 6. Leads aren’t ‘handed over’ they are shared Leads shouldn’t be handed over to sales; they should be shared with sales when a prospect reaches a point in their buying journey where they need 1-2-1 attention. Describing it as the lead ‘handover’ already gets you off to a bad start as it implies that the job of marketing is done at this point, which is not the case. Marketing should share a lead when they reach a pre-agreed stage of engagement and qualification, consulting sales on the readiness of the lead. Sales have a responsibility to further qualify the lead and feedback to marketing on quality and readiness. It sounds simple and it is if there is a strong working relationship and a trust between the two teams. accurate and everyone is fulfilling their duty to keep the CRM clean and up-to-date. That’s why this should form part of the SLA between marketing and sales and can even be a contractual obligation or related to bonus payments. YOU’RE WARM! 50% of marketing leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy – Gleanster Research The best way to encourage trust is to provide both teams with visibility of leads via your CRM at every stage through closed loop reporting. That way sales can see where the lead has come from and marketing can see what is happening during the sales qualification process. Of course this only works when data is Share 6
  7. 7. Deciding on sales qualification criteria The difference between MQLs and SQLs… You may have worked with each other for a number of years to refine lead criteria for sales but if you are working from a yes/no checklist then you still haven’t mastered it. Whether we like it or not, lead criteria is ambiguous at best and personal to each individual sales person at its worst. A short checklist at this stage has the potential to stop attempts at sales and marketing alignment in its tracks. …is 1-2-1 qualification. There is no substitute for this and whether you are dealing with large volumes of low value leads or low volumes of large value leads – and regardless of average lead time – you will need to find an efficient and effective way of qualifying MQLs before sharing them with sales. You need to define the parameters which sales are prepared to work within for each point in your list and accept that they are not likely to be yes/no answers. Some of these parameters can be built into your CRM and Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) as validation rules for new leads but some of them will need qualification by your inside sales/telemarketing team before they become a Sales Accepted Lead (SAL). Share Your lead scoring model should score each lead on their digital behaviour and their fit as a person you can do business with; but this model can only do so much. 1-2-1 human qualification is always required at some stage. So if you are sharing MQLs with your sales team, you could damage their view of leads generated by marketing and give them the impression that marketing automation doesn’t work which may lead to hot leads not getting the follow-up they deserve. Only bring sales into the mix when a lead has been qualified by a tele-qualification/business development team or similar. That way sales know that the information and scoring gathered by marketing has been verified and interest levels have been established in a 1-2-1 conversation. This process ensures that sales are dealing with the best quality leads and any that are not yet ready to be nurtured by sales can stay with marketing for 7 further nurture until they are ready.
  8. 8. Giving sales the right level of information to give them a head start Sales don’t need reams of information on each lead, just the key points that will guide their initial conversations and give them a head start. So select only the highlights from your marketing insight to feed through to your CRM on each lead and build a profile that really means something to your sales team. Each sales person monitors body language, behaviour, responses to open-ended questions and responses to qualifying questions such as the decision making power of the individual. If marketing can monitor this behaviour digitally and deliver the highlights when sharing the lead, sales have a head start and a real chance of making that first conversation more like a second or third. Beware of taking marketing insight too literally though, prospects can be fickle and their priorities can change overnight so both marketing and sales need to understand that there is always room for a prospect to fall back a few steps in the buyer journey. However, it is still a warm call, so the caller should be prepared – to maximise the opportunity. When this works well it is a great example of marketing and sales working together to accelerate prospects through the buyer journey. Share 8
  9. 9. The responsibility of sales to follow up a lead Sales or marketing holding on to a lead that isn’t going anywhere is not helpful. If a lead has stalled in the journey then everyone needs to work together to get it moving again even if that means taking it a few steps back. To ensure that no lead suffers from long periods of inactivity it is important to get rules of engagement in place such as: n ow many times should sales call H and over what length of time? n f a meeting doesn’t happen what I is the next action? n hose responsibility is it to follow W up a lead after a meeting? n ow often should sales update the H CRM and record activity? Share Defining the answers to these questions is the responsibility of both sales and marketing, as both share responsibility of the lead throughout the journey to greater or lesser degrees. These rules of engagement are not there as sticks to beat each other with but to ensure that each prospect gets the attention they deserve and therefore becomes a valuable customer more quickly. n’t Do e! eat m b Aligned organisations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth while less aligned companies reported an average 7% decline in revenue – Forrester Research 9
  10. 10. 2 Lead recycling When marketing should recycle a lead and why When leads are ‘handed over’ to sales and they subsequently stall, accusations can start to fly about the original quality of the lead generated by marketing and likewise the quality of the follow-up and nurture by sales. To realise that the majority of stalled leads is due to changing circumstances that we as a vendor can’t control, frees marketing and sales from a blame culture and pave the way for a robust plan to recycle leads. Sales must learn to re-engage marketing when, for example, a prospect has had budget cuts and therefore won’t convert to sale until a much later date. Marketing must equally have a tailored nurture programme in place for these leads so that when they are ready to restart the project, you are the vendor they call first. Share 10
  11. 11. Marketing’s promise to recycle leads Just as sales has a responsibility to follow-up every SQL that marketing share with them, marketing has a responsibility to effectively recycle leads that sales believe are not ready to move towards a decision. Don’t think that the leads that sales has turned down are at a dead end, they may just not be ready yet. Some of these leads will re-engage again at a later date and need an effective nurture programme to ensure that they get the relevant additional information they need in the meantime. Case studies, testimonials, tools that support the business case and ROI calculators will all help your prospect to build the case internally and restart the project. A decision maker who has had their budget cut or been forced to reallocate resource to another project is still a valid lead. If they restart the project at a later date you want to safeguard your position as vendor of choice. Equally important is the opportunity to educate your prospect about your other products/services. They will still have budget so if they’re going to spend it on other services you offer make sure they know about them while you still have them engaged. Share 11
  12. 12. When is a lead not a lead? terfit as o f pr H! T OW GR There comes a point in the lifetime of a lead when it becomes clear that they are not going to re-engage with you anytime soon. Some prospects can be classed as timewasters or lacking decision making power and there comes a point when you need to accept that they are no longer worth creating content and communications for. B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three year period – Sirius Decisions Moving disengaged leads back to the top of the funnel will clean out your nurture data and give you a better picture of who you are talking to at each stage of the buyer journey. You need this clarity to plan effective messaging, content, communication and nurture for each segment. But don’t be too eager to write all disengaged leads off as a bad job. It really does depend on your average lead times and typical industry contract cycles. Share 12
  13. 13. 3Sales enablement and support We have already talked about the idea of marketing and sales sharing a lead as opposed to handing it over, but what about the final stages of the journey? Most marketing departments support their sales teams by providing detailed product information, client presentations templates for bids. Marketing has a bigger role to play in guiding the content that is created and used at this stage of the journey to ensure consistency and effectiveness. Share 13
  14. 14. Instant insight from regular auditing Every prospect has a specific requirement Sales know what they need to close the deal, it’s what they do best and they have their own ideas. The sales document is often their chance to be creative and get their key sales messages across to the prospect. Marketing should regularly review and audit sales documents as they are full of great content, messaging and ideas. This is a great opportunity to see what works well and resonates with prospects at the point of purchase. There is instant insight to be gained from regularly reviewing what sales are writing and creating. Every good sales person will tell you that they approach each proposal differently because every prospect has different requirements and different purchase drivers. So trying to create lots of templates for sales, so that they never have to create any new content themselves, is virtually impossible. Marketing have a duty to support sales in making sure their content is consistent but easily tailored for each prospect. If marketing try to control this process they will more than likely fail and, in the process, reverse some of the good work that’s been done to bring sales and marketing closer together. ogether t ’re we esome! AW Share 14
  15. 15. Marketing’s role in closing the deal Post-sale love The real value add from marketing at the final stages of the buyer journey is the ability to nurture the prospect when they are not at the negotiating table. Understanding which competitors the prospect is talking to, where they pick up industry news, what forums or blogs they read and contribute to, what events they regularly attend; this is the time for marketing to gather all the insight gathered about the prospect and put it to good use. A joined up approach doesn’t stop once the deal has been closed. Marketing and sales need to work out the approach for post-sale engagement. How can you cross sell and upsell? How do you truly unlock the potential of a new customer? And beyond that, how do you create strong advocates for your business, service or products. Where there is a lock-down on communication with decision makers during a bid, marketing can leverage key influencers within a prospect organisation to get positive references of their brand and services into the building indirectly. A key account strategy that targets key individuals indirectly can raise general awareness in a prospect organisation at just the right time. Share It’s never ending LOVE 15
  16. 16. Sales and marketing alignment: One step at a time In this guide we have talked about many ways that sales and marketing can redefine how they work together to increase their overall conversion rates of leads to sales, but we know as well as you do that these things take time to implement. Cultural changes do not often happen swiftly. ? Where 80% of the average salesperson’s day is spent on non-revenue generating activities, including not knowing where to find good prospects or recognizing them once they find them – Share Over here! n ake it one step at a time and T decide what the quick wins will be in your business n reate a road map that gives sensible timescales to changes C n et buy-in from the principle stakeholders in marketing and G sales and show them the benefit of working in this way n nsure everyone in marketing and sales has some E responsibility for implementing at least one of these new processes n he Sales and Marketing SLA will be pivotal in creating T trust and agreeing the rules of engagement at every step of the journey. If it seems like a big job in your organisation then speak to peers that have implemented similar agreements to get some tips There is no doubt that the way buyers research and buy from us has changed dramatically, so marketing and sales need to accept that they can work together to nurture leads. Improved visibility ensures there is no duplication of effort. Two, quite different methods of nurture complement each other to ultimately achieve the same goal - accelerate your prospects through the buyer journey to sale. 16
  17. 17. Resource Centre You may also enjoy reading: Download Your Wish List The Perfect World of Marketing and Sales 5 Ways Marketing Automation helps Sales Enablement Download Download Buyer Journey Cheatsheet Download About Ledger Bennett DGA Telephone: +44 (0)8458 383883 Email: Milton Keynes: Ledger Bennett DGA Tungsten House, Warren Road Little Horwood, Milton Keynes MK17 0NR London: Share Ledger Bennett DGA 1st Floor Centric House 390-391 Strand, London WC2R 0LT We are a B2B Demand Generation agency that uses sales and marketing know-how to help customers increase revenue by deploying Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing and Marketing Automation strategies. Our highly focused Demand Generation programmes drive our customers’ business performance, helping them to: n Generate more opportunity n Convert that opportunity into sales n Retain customers and grow their value Using more measurable and cost effective techniques than traditional full service marketing agencies we are able to maximise business revenue in the modern world where the internet has fundamentally changed the behaviour of the buyer.