“Marketing burns money – Sales wastes the Leads” – Who wouldn’t agree, that this is a very common perception in B2B organizations. Here is my Top 5 List of Tips for a better Sales and Marketing Alignment:
1. Execute against a well defined Go-to-Market Model
Make sure all corporate functions are clear about your target markets, routes-to-market and the customer segments your companies solutions and products are targeting. Then execute against a well defined, well documented and continuously communicated Go-to-Market strategy
2. Thorough Pipeline Management
Work against a rolling sales pipeline model. Define a sales pipeline target for each solution and/or product line. Become clear about your average sales-cycle and think further than just the next few quarters. Estimate the number of leads required to reach this target-pipeline based on forecasts, experience and historical data such as Lead Conversion Rates, Average Opportunity/Deal Sizes, Closing-Rates etc.
3. Define what a “Lead” means to your organization
Lead Definitions vary. From traditional Qualified/Unqualified or BANT (Budget-Authority-Need-Timeline) definitions, to more advanced progressive profiling in the context of an automated Marketing. Whatever model you may use, make sure that Sales Force and Marketing people are speaking the same language. It’s a difference whether a “Qualified Lead” describes a prospects who may be willed to consider your solutions among others – or whether the prospect already knows exactly about the particular advantages of your solutions and is almost ready to sign the purchase order.
4. Regain control of your data
While everybody talks about a sophisticated 360° Customer Relationship Management model that just spits out relevant content and messages for each and every target person or segment you may think of, reality is often still frustrating. Fragmented systems or data, a missing guidance on how to maintain data accuracy and quality (typically the human factor fails…), make organizations behave as if they would constantly meet their loyal customers or prospects for the very first time. This is embarassing, yes, and hey, you can’t afford it anyway. So make sure you have a strong operational model that ensures the continuous maintenance of your data assets.
5. Constantly review your Key-Performance-Indiciators
However they may be defined in detail (don’t overdo it anyway…), run frequent sales and marketing alignment meetings, in order to review your attainment against defined key performance indicators (e.g. pipeline targets, lead numbers, lead quality, lead management quality, qualitative targets (e.g. % of revenue by defined route-to-market). Agree internally on immediate actions to address the gaps identified. Assign clear accountabilities and monitor the execution.