If you are responsible for the growth and prosperity of your Ottawa area business; I have one very important question to ask of you. How is the relationship between your company’s sales and marketing departments? For many businesses, there is a type of sibling rivalry between these two teams. The mistrust and miscommunication between sales and marketing can act like a weight slowing your company’s growth rate. The sales team feels that marketing’s efforts are not generating enough high quality leads, while marketing believes that the sales team is not working leads diligently!
The key is to align sales and marketing efforts for optimal inbound performance. A recent study by the Aberdeen group found that in 2010, companies that had a healthy relationship between sales and marketing saw overall sales growth of 20%. Companies with poor alignment between the two teams saw a drop in revenues of 4%.
Creating a lasting alignment between sales and marketing requires a strategy that treats both teams as a single revenue-generating department. HubSpot calls this Smarketing. The Smarketing approach is data driven. By implementing a framework of data-driven tools and analysis you can help your sales and marketing teams to align and work better together.
Using hard numbers to define key stages of your sales funnel and creating a clear outline for each teams performance leaves a lot less room for discord. The results become plain to see.
Moving Towards Alignment
Constant, consistently open communication along with relevant data is the key. For example, by offering your marketing team information on lead quality, sales can help marketing understand which types of leads are likely to close. Marketing can then direct their efforts towards inbound strategies to generate those higher quality leads. Marketing should be allowed to observe sales calls and help close when asked, to understand the value of each generated lead.
Let’s examine several key elements of the “Smarketing” framework that can begin to align sales and marketing for optimal inbound performance.
1. Set-up a closed-loop system. Measure results.
Open data is critical to successful alignment. By monitoring data streams in near real time, it’s possible to get an up-to-the-minute progress report towards agreed to goals. This also allows for lead quality analysis and measurement of marketing’s ROI.
The two key technological elements to establishing a closed-loop system are:
• Marketing software – Implement a marketing software approach to help with lead generation and management throughout the entire process.
• Put in place a Customer Relation Management (CRM) System – A CRM system can help you to measure and track your teams sales activities.
Any systems you put in place should be fully integrated and open to both sales and marketing. This way, data for every lead can be followed from first contact, through creation to close. This can help you to understand which marketing efforts are most effective.
2. Define your Lead / Sales Funnel.
True alignment means defining your leads/sales process. Have a clear direction and distinction for each stage of the process. For example:
- Visitors follow CTAs, enter contact information and become leads.
- Leads are traced and defined to determine their origin. If marketing driven, they are classified as Marketing Qualified Leads.
- MQLs are passed on to sales.
- Opportunities are defined by the sales team, and finally…
- Closed to become customers.
The important step is defining MQLs. This is the hand off point between marketing and sales. It’s necessary to have clear, defined terminology. Each lead should be examined for both overall interest and fit with your company’s goals to establish qualification standards.
3. Implement an SLA (Service Level Agreement).
Defining MQLs is necessary to align sales and marketing efforts for optimal inbound marketing performance. The next step is to define a mutually agreeable SLA. The SLA is a formal commitment between your sales and marketing teams. The object is to meet specific shared goals for revenue growth within a specified time period, for example, quarterly. It is a two way process. Marketing commits to delivering a specific quantity of qualified leads to sales, monthly. Your sales team then commits to follow-up those leads in a timely manner and makes a specific number of follow-up attempts before dropping the lead.
Do you want to learn more about how to align sales and marketing efforts for optimal inbound marketing performance using HubSpot’s “Smarketing” approach? Download our FREE eBook “The Complete Guide to Unifying Your Sales and Marketing Efforts.” Turn your company into a marketing and sales machine. You’ll learn more about defining MQLs, how to hold an effective Smarketing meeting, dashboards, reporting and more!