Sales and marketing alignment


Historically, the relationship between marketing and sales has been (to put it politely) problematic. Often there is lots of finger-pointing, and lots of valuable sales leads falling through the gaps between the two functions. But in an age of cautious spending, no company can afford to have sales leads disappear because of poor internal processes. You need sales and marketing alignment so that teams can work together seamlessly and effectively.

While marketing may once have been the ‘junior partner’ in the process. Simply handing over contact details for sales to follow up, is no longer acceptable. In the digital era, B2B marketing is not just responsible for getting names into the top of the funnel. They must also build relationships with those contacts, nurture them over time, provide guidance and information at every stage, and bring them to the point where they are highly-qualified opportunities ready to convert into sales.

Three tips to ensure sales and marketing alignment

Here are our top three tips to ensure sales and marketing alignment.
1. Score Your Leads Collaboratively
Effective lead scoring is essential to ensuring that only well-qualified leads are handed over to sales. The focus should be on sales and marketing alignment in order to agree on the definition that will be used to score leads at each stage in the funnel. Establishing this together will avoid finger-pointing later, and will enable you to develop appropriate content for leads at every stage.

Decide on the criteria for scoring potential buyers all the way from a basic name entering the top of the funnel, through engaged party, prospect, lead, and finally opportunity. Lead scoring will consider factors such as :
1. the prospect’s interaction with your website and social media profiles,
2. the amount and type of content viewed, shared and downloaded, information given in registration forms,
3. the results of any direct engagement via social media, events or other activities

More importantly, don’t forget to score for negative behaviours. Activities like unsubscribing from emails or negative social media comments are signs that a prospect no longer wants to engage.

2. Stop Valuable Leads From Falling Through the Cracks.
Once you have decided on how to define and score activities during the complete sales funnel, you will also need to set the ground rules for the sales and marketing alignment process. This is typically when a lead should be handed over to sales. Handing over only highly-qualified leads means Sales focuses all of its efforts on leads that are ready to convert, resulting in increased revenue and a better B2B marketing ROI.

With budgets tight, marketing has understandably wanted to focus on getting more sales leads into the funnel, and on pursuing the ones that show a greater propensity to buy. There simply hasn’t been time or money to lavish attention on stalled leads that may never become customers.

But now, technological advances have made it possible to nurture leads over the long term cost-effectively, by keeping in regular automated contact and providing useful content based on what you already know about the lead. Without lead nurturing, fewer than 5% of leads go on to buy from you. With it, you can increase that proportion to 25%. That’s a lot more qualified leads to hand over to sales, and a vastly improved return on B2B marketing investment.

But lead nurturing can’t be conducted independently by sales. There needs to be regular two-way communication between the functions. This is why sales and marketing alignment is critical. Sales need to know what activity the lead has undertaken and what messages and content have already been communicated to them. There also needs to be a smooth process for sales to hand back leads that have failed to convert, so they can be put back into the funnel for further nurturing.

3. Use Metrics to Show What’s Worked.
One of the biggest challenges for any marketing team is to demonstrate how marketing spend is driving revenue for the business. Done properly, regular lead scoring and comprehensive lead nurturing deliver ample data that demonstrate how leads have been progressed through to conversion.

You still need to choose the right metrics. To truly demonstrate marketing’s value, you need to be measuring things like marketing program performance, impact on revenue and profit per customer. For each of these categories there are several levels of metrics to consider that show the balance between the costs to the company versus the lifetime customer value..

ProAptivity can help you with sales and marketing alignment.

ProAptivity are an independent CRM solutions provider with over 30 years experience in helping clients successfully onboard user-customisable CRM solutions. We focus on the implementation, training, and support of highly customised CRM software solutions. Our CRM software supported by our training provide customers with the tools needed to deliver successful business process management.

Fundamentally, we help organisations embed CRM best practice throughout their organisation. This helps organisations become more competitive, customer focused and ultimately more profitable.

If you need help in understanding why my business needs CRM, maybe some of our video’s or  eBooks could help! Alternatively visit Maximizer CRM for more information. You can contact us today on 0330 223 6362 or via email at Contact us today for a free CRM consultation that will assess if your business is CRM ready.

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