Sales VPs: How to Get Marketing to Accept a Number


Share on LinkedIn

You’re closing in on the fiscal year. Soon you will be given a new number. It will be higher than last year. There are two approaches to handling this:

  1. Put the entire number on your back.
  2. Get marketing to take a portion.

We recommend option 2. The rationale for sales shouldering the entire quota is weakening. In the past, marketing’s effectiveness relied on fuzzy metrics like “Brand Awareness”. Today the modern B2B CMO can match marketing efforts directly to sales dollars. Marketing automation systems have allowed marketing leaders to:

  • Track anyone who fills out a form or responds to an email

  • Track these inquiries until they turn into viable leads

  • Track all leads from nurturing activities to close

  • Detect the sales amount from the opportunity

This year, make the case that Marketing’s contribution be measured in revenue. Download our Sales and Marketing Quota Agreement and propose it to your CEO and Marketing VP today.

Getting marketing’s buy in isn’t easy. There are three steps to get marketing to take a Number:

  1. Define service level agreements and accountabilities for both sales and marketing
  2. Agree on the % of opportunities and leads that are marketing’s responsibility
  3. Put together a sheet to track and measure progress

Define Service Level Agreements and Accountabilities

The first step is to build some good will with the marketing VP. Take responsibility for the leads they send you. Make sure all passed leads are contacted quickly and consistently. This will eliminate the tired refrain: You never follow up on my leads. Here is how what you need to commit to:

Definition of a Qualified Lead. To get Marketing’s buy-in, you can’t ask that every lead come with a pen to sign the contract. Agree on standards that will allow approximately 25%-40% of all leads to convert to opportunities.

A Follow Up Cadence: Commit to the marketing leader that sales will follow up with ALL leads within 48 business hours. This will sound like Euphoria to your marketing leader. No more rep cherry-picking. Also, sales will continue to call on un-contacted leads 5-7 times before returning to sales. No lead goes unturned.

Rejected Leads: Specify that any lead rejected by sales be coded with a reason. Furthermore, an explanation should be sent to the LDR on WHY the lead is not suitable. If marketing receives no feedback on why, you can’t expect them to change their criteria.

Opportunity and Win Credit: Sales and Marketing often feud over credit for a valued lead. If a prospect has met with sales in the last 3 months and there is activity recorded, Sales gets credit. Marketing gets credit for anything else that comes in.

If you feel these numbers don’t fit your organization, adjust. Just remember, agreement should be a collaborative process. These tasks require extra commitment from you. But they also offer an enticing proposition to marketing.

Agree on Marketing’s Opportunity Pipeline

Now that you’ve built goodwill it’s time for the big ask. A B2B rule of thumb is that marketing provides 25% of Opportunities to your pipeline. Your total may be more or less. But it is critical that marketing agrees to a specific percentage of opportunities. Here is how to come up with the number you should ask for:

  1. Calculate your average sales price last year. Now divide your quota by your average sales price. This is the total number of opportunities you need to hit the number.
  2. Multiply the total number of opportunities by your agreed Marketing Opportunity Percentage. This is the number of opportunities that need to be originated from marketing.
  3. Look at the data from last year. Determine how many leads from marketing converted into viable opportunities. This your lead conversion rate.
  4. Divide the number of marketing originated opportunities by the lead conversion rate. This is the number of leads you will require.

Download our Sales and Marketing Quota Agreement and you can simply enter the numbers required.

Sales and Marketing Quota Contract

Put Together a Sheet to Monitor Progress

Once you’ve defined your leads and agreed to a number start tracking. The sheet should be owned by both Sales and Marketing. Each department should track:

  1. The number leads generated.
  2. The number and conversion rate of leads to sales opportunities.
  3. Total wins and the lead to win conversion rate.

Each of these metrics will tell a story about qualification and sales engagement.

This conversation may be difficult, but it’s necessary. Marketing deserves both the recognition and accountability that comes with a quota. Sales can help them earn it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Drew Zarges
Drew Zarges serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI). Drew helps sales and marketing leaders hit their number through extensive work within these disciplines: Lead Management, Demand Generation and Campaign Planning, Compensation Planning and Specialties.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here