Why CMOs Struggle with the Last Mile


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As CMO, you implemented marketing automation; provide great content, and your campaigns are world class. But you are not seeing results. It’s always the last mile that bites you. If you don’t have alignment with sales then it will all be wasted effort. For proof, try to measure the return on marketing spend without sales alignment. In the end, the CEO’s view is you’re not providing value to the company. The frustrating part is you’re doing all the right things.

Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group indicates when sales and marketing are aligned:

  • Pipeline size increases by 18-27% and
  • Year to year revenue growth is 13-38% higher

Getting sales aligned with the marketing organization is critical to your success. In the end, the CEO is looking for revenue contributions resulting from marketing programs.

You are probably asking yourself, “Why is sales not closing marketing leads”? Download the Sales and Marketing Alignment tool to close the gap.

sales marketing alignment last mile

The Last Mile

What is the last mile? The marketing team has done everything necessary and hands over a sales qualified lead. The last mile occurs from the hand-off of the lead to sales until closure.

Why it’s important? Historically sales views marketing leads as unqualified. This means the sales process is not run with the same focus as sales generated leads. You need to align with sales in order to stress the strides that have been made to increase lead quality. This includes an agreement with sales on the definition of a qualified lead. This may seem like a simple approach. Lead qualification is the number one gap between sales and marketing.

The sales and marketing alignment tool helps you focus on the following 5 key requirements:

  1. How to hold sales accountable
  2. Creating a sales & marketing performance cadence
  3. Closing the feedback loop with Sales
  4. Sales and Marketing Governance
  5. The ability to hit first year new product launch revenue goals or Sales Enablement

Perceptions and Execution

In many cases marketing looks at sales as the legacy sales force. Even when I hand off qualified leads they can’t execute. Antiquated sales processes and the inability to leverage modern lead intelligence are root causes. You can’t sit back and expect one day this will change. You need to take steps to bring the groups closure together now.

Consider these statistics from IDC:

• 33% of unsuccessful deals could have been won with a more informed rep

• 57% of customers felt sales reps are poorly prepared for the initial meeting

• 50%+ of customers expect sales people to be better informed about client-specific requirements

Alignment – The Missing Ingredient

Why is it important to be aligned with sales? Unless you’re going to close leads yourself, you need sales. Sales provide the ability to measure the return on marketing investment.

Consider these 10 alignment criteria to get sales focused on the closing leads.

  1. Sales and Marketing strategy alignment – building a joint strategy
  2. Qualified Lead Agreement between sales & marketing – formal SQL definition
  3. Sales Enablement program for new product launches – end to end program
  4. Big deal alignment program / engagement agreement – shared big deal responsibility
  5. Sales & Marketing Service Level Agreement – setting expectations of each team
  6. Prospect Level Business Intelligence – digital body language data to sales
  7. Key or Strategic Account (or channel partner) program alignment – resource alignment to potential
  8. Comprehensive Revenue Lifecycle view – the ability to measure the return on marketing spend
  9. Sales provides concise and specific Lead feedback – closing the loop with marketing
  10. Regular cadence of Performance Review – combined sales & marketing

Resources for Success

To meet customer expectations, salespeople have to tap into a wide range of resources and quickly find what they need. The solution is a clear, credible and relevant sales enablement platform. This helps sales people improve the quality of their sales conversations. Improved conversations lead to more wins.

Unless you’re currently providing 25% plus in measurable revenue contribution, download this tool.

For years you’ve listened to the sales team point fingers at unqualified leads. You’ve put your career on the line to make significant invests in:

  • Marketing Automation
  • CRM integration
  • Lead Development Reps
  • Content creation and alignment by phase
  • Content Management Systems
  • Buyer Process Maps
  • Personas
  • Partner or affiliate lead capture and distribution processes
  • Campaign execution ability for new logos
  • Cross sell / upsell campaigns
  • Customized lead grading and scoring
  • Benchmark studies on lead conversion rates

Isn’t it time the sales field took some responsibility and focused on closing the last mile? It’s time to have the conversation with your peer in sales. Download the alignment tool and walk through it with sales. If you have any questions or concerns contact me at [email protected]. I’ll walk through the tool and spend 30 minutes answering any questions. Keep in mind; it’s always the last mile. Hoping sales addresses the gap is not a strategy for success. Good luck.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Staples
John is an industry thought leader with more than 25 years of business experience, including B-to-B field sales, sales management, and sales operations. John has delivered results for companies such as: ConocoPhillips, Ryder, Tekelec, Telcordia Technologies, United Site Services, Sparta Systems and others.


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