Getting sales and marketing on the same page is one of the biggest challenges we see when creating new processes and streamlining sales funnels. These two departments should work hand-in-glove, but they often wind up in an adversarial relationship. For most companies, this problem starts with basic communication. Like any good relationship, communication forms the foundation for better understanding and an improved relationship.
Defining Common Ground
The simplest solutions often offer the best results. Improving sales and marketing alignment often starts with the development of common terms. Instead of referring to all responses to a marketing effort as leads, it is important to create terms and levels of qualification for each response. Since each department has a different definition of what constitutes a lead, this can help both sales and marketing agree on, and more effectively act upon, opportunities. Build a vocabulary that everyone can agree on, and we think you’ll see dramatic improvements to the sales and marketing relationship.
Turn Vocabulary into a Vocation
Once both groups have common ground, build processes around the new terminology. Define when a lead is qualified enough to hand off to sales and when it needs more nurturing from marketing. By bringing both groups to the table when developing processes and lead tiers, it shows how valuable their opinions are. We find a simple scoring method offers the best results. High scoring leads need immediate action, while lower scoring leads need a bit more time to simmer. The result is higher close rates. Of course, some leads start off with a high score and rapidly cool. For these leads, there needs to be a recycling process.
Never Toss a Lead
When a lead cools off, it may just be an indicator that the time is not right, or the prospect hasn’t seen the full value of the product or service. In those instances, a failed close should head back to marketing, not to the trash. A second pass through sales a few months down the road could have better success. After all, sometimes purchases need more planning and other times prospects simply want a little more time to consider the options. In either case, they still represent a solid prospect, so be sure to keep them in the funnel. The more contacts they have, the more likely they are to eventually close.
Sitting Down at the Round Table
Communication is the key to creating processes that work. Relationship building is the foundation of the creation process. The more involved sales and marketing are in the creation of new processes, the easier it is to get buy in. At DemandGen, we find process adoption to be a top down process. When top levels of management adopt open communications and try to work together on new processes, it helps break down the barriers between departments, ultimately creating a more positive work environment with solid returns.
Check out these real-life accounts from Five9 and Concur to see some of the ways that our clients are leveraging DemandGen’s experience and expertise to reach their goals and optimize marketing effectiveness for their organizations.