Three Truths Behind Sales and Marketing Alignment


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To create the best lead generation process, you’ve got to keep sales and marketing on the same page. There is a continuing challenge for marketing to fill the sales lead coffers. But before marketing can bring in the right leads for sales to close, both need to agree on what constitutes a qualified sales lead.

There are three truths behind sales and marketing agreements that must be recognized for effective alignment:

1. Collaborative lead scoring is the basis for effective qualification.

To create the best scoring system, marketing and sales have to combine their definitions of the ideal lead. If the two teams can’t agree on what a lead is and how they are scored, then that’s the first area of improvement that you need to focus on.

After agreeing to what a lead is and what characteristics help score the lead, begin incorporating information such as online registration, and tracking your prospects’ online behavior to dynamically change the score of active versus inactive leads.

Ask if your scoring takes into account such lead characteristics as no website activity for a long time, spam complaints, added to “do not call” lists and negative social media comments.

Also determine how nurtured leads respond to sales efforts once they are passed along. It’s important to ensure that the messages used in the nurturing stage are carried over to the sales phase, so be sure the sales team is aware of marketing messages.

2. Automation speeds up and beefs up lead qualification processes.

Software for scoring uses demographics and prospect behaviors to determine how to best target particular audience segments and then keep leads engaged in the sales process once they enter (e.g. through a landing page).

According to a recent CRM. com article, “industry research shows that the ability to contact a lead increases by as much as a hundredfold if you reach out within five minutes versus waiting even 30 minutes.”

In spite of this reality, a recent survey of more than 100 for-profit colleges found that the median phone response per school to respond to Internet leads came in at one hour, 36 minutes.”

Automation breaks down the time barrier and allows marketers to determine exactly when leads enter the buying cycle, making it possible to follow up quickly.

In addition, automated marketing tracks online activity to measure buying interest and sales-readiness. When this tracking engine identifies the specific condition of leads in the process (i.e. lukewarm or hot), both response time and quality can improve to deliver quicker, targeted messages.

Such software also helps determine why some leads move from hot to closed and some take longer to develop in the nurturing cycle.

3. Marketing and sales alignment always produce dramatic improvement

There is no doubt that your company will close more sales if your sales team focuses only on high-quality leads.

Collaboration from the very beginning, starting with lead scoring gets everyone on the same page when defining ideal leads. From there marketing and sales alignment allows a communication channel so sales can funnel non sales-ready leads back to marketing for further nurturing.

This means that every lead is accounted for and more end up converting instead of being lost in the cycle.

At the end of the sales process, marketing accountability delivers improved sales follow up after conversion, allowing both teams to better understand how leads respond in the various sales stages,

The result — everyone can become more enthusiastic about the process because all had a hand in its success.

So the challenge is to harness the information available and better understand the elements behind today’s consumers who control the buying cycle by leveraging information available via search, social media, and other online tools.

A company that has both sales and marketing firing on all engines can expect the lead management process to adapt easily to the changing market, especially when integrating automated marketing tools. When sales is closing, everybody shares in the spirit of success and motivation.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bill Binch
Bill leads Marketo's sales and customer success activities and is a key architect of Marketo's rapid sales growth. Prior to Marketo, Bill held sales leadership roles and built and managed direct, inside, and channel organizations at AVOLENT, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and BEA Systems.


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