You wouldn’t be the first to seek sales and marketing zen, but it’s not always easy … Read on for your guide to achieving sales and marketing aligntenment and how to work towards flexible growth… as well as some awesomely bad sales and marketing aligntenment puns (you’re welcome).

Technology is driving sales and marketing departments closer together, creating many grey areas when it comes to defining what a lead is and the individual roles we play in qualifying and nurturing leads. Without careful guidance it can be much like throwing dogs and cats in a room together, locking the door and hoping for the best.

If you want to avoid the carnage and get back to generating profits, you need to create some aligntenment between departments by shining a light on the issues and creating open communication to align teams where everyone is working towards a common goal.

Step 1. Lead & Target Awareness

Clearly defining the parameters of an MQL, SQL and SAL is the first step to eliminating blame and clarifying responsibilities. Make sure everyone knows the common goal – ACHEIVING REVENUE TARGET by setting clear KPI’s and align revenue goals for both departments. Create a non-threatening environment where individuals and teams can openly discuss challenges and how to overcome them together.

Step 2. Automate Your Lead Flow

Updating CRM data is time consuming and a hassle. Marketing automation tools can import large scale prospect data automatically from social sources, building a solid base of key info for your sales reps to leverage. By automating your CRM and lead management platform you give your teams a head start and eliminate much of the research and administration efforts.

All together now AutOoommmmmmmation.

Step 3. Humanise Lead Qualification

Now breathe in and breathe out… we can get through this together…

We cannot rely on automation and process alone to qualify leads. Human interaction is required to qualify and score each lead as to the level of interest, where they are in the sales cycle and how far they are out from buying, anything else is just assumptions.

Unfortunately this is the step where most organisations and processes fall apart. WHY? It seems so simple and it is but the problem lies with whose responsibility it is to correctly qualify the leads and where KPI and revenue goals are set for the individuals involved. For example: you pay your sales reps to close a deal so why would you then ask them to spend their time calling into large volumes of prospects to qualify only a few sales ready leads. Sales Managers wonder why their teams are reluctant to comply and lead qualification exercises fall short.

61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. (Marketing Sherpa) social-icons-01

Let’s search for some aligntenment ; )… If you want sales professionals to qualify leads shift KPI’s and revenue goals to reward on lead qualification. But is this really what you want your highly paid sales professionals focusing on? Inside sales and field sales roles require a different set of skills and focus and recruiting and managing skilled professionals in this space is a challenge in itself.

One viable option is to partner with an outsourced agency to call and qualify leads and identify HOT leads that are ready to engage in a sales conversation. This way you are only paying for leads that are ready to buy.

The World is Changing social-icons-01

Step 4. Nurture to Sales-Ready

Be careful not to discard leads who are interested but not yet ready to buy.

Once the lead has been qualified action can be taken to either pass the lead to a sales rep or back to marketing to nurture and develop the lead to a sales ready status. It is marketing’s responsibility to further qualify and develop those leads by delivering relevant and well time content and continuously monitoring and adjusting campaigns.

Step 5. Reporting Zen

This is perhaps one of the most important steps towards sales and marketing aligntenment, in fact if you miss this step it could be back to the dog and cat analogy mentioned earlier. All leads MUST be tracked through a marketing automation system to tie deals back to the campaigns that created them, attributing revenue to the right team.

What aligntenment challenges have your sales and marketing teams experienced? I would be interested in hearing your feedback in the comments section below… or if there are any other aligntenment puns you think I should have included! ; )