4 Steps Towards Aligning Marketing with Sales and Proving Value


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The new marketing director of a start-up mobile company (with traction and actual revenue) asked me the following question: “What recommendations would you make for our company given that we haven’t had any real marketing head in the past and our product only appeals to a relatively small target market (about 100 companies), 30% of which our sales team is already talking to.” My response is as follows:

1. Build Your Target List

First off, let’s identify the people behind those 100 companies because companies don’t buy, people buy. How many decision-makers are there on average in each of the 100 companies on your target list? His answer was, “Three.”

Okay, so we have a target of 300 people we want to influence and for sake of argument, let’s assume that 90 of them are already having conversations with the sales team. That leaves a little over 200 that aren’t currently being reached.

You might consider a first initiative of building the list of those 200 people that sales aren’t currently reaching and start reaching out to them. The company didn’t have a CRM solution in place so I suggested he consider SalesForce as his CRM solution and use Jigsaw or a similar service to identify the right targets and build his list.

Also, using tools like LinkedIn can be valuable in identifying the most appropriate suspect and verifying their role. I’ve found that fact-checking Jigsaw with LinkedIn can save time and energy. At a pace of 10 prospects entered a day (I’m being conservative, it could easily be a lot more), your list is developed within 3-4 weeks.

After crafting an introductory email (with a link to “offer content” like a white paper, webinar, datasheet, etc.) and getting the sales team’s approval on it, use the intro email as a first touch to these new prospects. Responses from the email and registrations as a result of the offer content can be scored appropriately and delivered to sales to follow up on.

You should consider sending out the intro email as you enter the new prospects in the list – you just might start getting early wins, unless there’s a compelling reason to wait and create the list first.

2. Start Content Marketing

As a second initiative, you might consider creating a content marketing program to nurture the list and qualify leads for the sales team.

While a content marketing program can be come in many forms, you might consider starting with a blog and post (at least weekly) articles with information and tips that are relevant to your audience (and align with your product).

This strategy is relatively easy to manage, provides good branding and thought-leadership and also (when properly optimized) contributes to the organic search rankings for your site.

In order to leverage content, your list can be nurtured with a monthly “blog newsletter“, with summaries of and links to the articles on your blog. Including links to relevant “offer content” in the sidebar of the blog and newsletter and within the articles is also a good lead generation tactic.

3. Broaden Your Distribution

After you have your target list developed and a content marketing program in place to nurture that list, it might be time to experiment with broadening your distribution efforts to create demand beyond the 300 contacts in your database.

Consider promoting your offer content with a targeted paid search program or content syndication program. These distribution strategies will help brand your business, build your list (for nurturing) and provide leads for your sales team.

Plus, if the contacts in your database happen to come across some of your content outside of your nurturing program, that will only reinforce your brand with them.

4. Consider Marketing Automation

At some point, likely once you’ve developed lead scoring criteria for prospects, you might consider adopting a marketing automation (MA) solution to assist in your efforts. There are a number of MA solutions available usually at an average cost of around $1,500 per month, although some are much less.

Almost all MA solutions integrate with SalesForce and provide you with the ability to:

  • set alerts for sales and marketing based on visitor activity on your site
  • execute automated email response campaigns in response to various prospect activities
  • easily access intelligence and reporting such as campaign ROI measurement, sales funnel activity and inbound source tracking

By following the above four steps, the new marketing director will be able to easily prove his value to the company by aligning marketing and sales efforts and delivering the sales team with qualified leads to concentrate on.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tom Meriam
Tom is a B2B and B2C sales and marketing veteran, having held senior level roles in the media and financial services industries as well as in the agency space.


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