Is Marketing generating the leads your Sales team wants? 3 Steps to Sales-Marketing Alignment

By Christie Turner – Astadia Marketing Director

No tool or benchmark can tell you what a qualified lead looks like for your company. Only sales people can define that. They’re the ones who have to close the leads, so they are your experts in lead qualification.

Well, it’s no secret that the relationship between sales and marketing teams is often…strained. How to move forward?

Here’s a 3 prong approach to move the conversation forward–by strengthening the correlation between marketing activities and revenue generation.

Item 1: Start a regular, ongoing conversation.

Here are 4 icebreaker questions for that first meeting between your company’s sales and marketing leadership.

  • What are the best–and worst–leads we’ve sent you?
  • What are the characteristics of a lead you’re excited to work?
  • What are the must-have characteristics for a lead to be worked at all?
  • What must your pipeline contain for you to make quota?

If your team most recently asked these questions more than 3 months ago, some answers have changed.

This conversation should engage the highest-ranking sales leader and the highest-ranking marketing leader in the organisation. Marketing-sales alignment is too important to delegate.

An outside moderator may be helpful, if the relationship has been rocky.

After the initial meeting, the marketing team should re-evaluate its lead scoring programs, list and lead sourcing strategies, and the marketing plan itself. Where could they be adjusted to better deliver the pipeline needed?

Item 2: Build the lead management process together.

For its activities to be relevant, marketing must align its tactical go-to-market plans to the territory battle plans of the sales team.

Sales should also align its workflow to fully leverage the groundwork laid by the marketing team’s activities.

Here are 4 icebreaker questions for the lead management process discussions between sales and marketing.

  • Who should be working on the leads marketing sends to sales?
  • What information do the sales people need to follow up effectively after we run a campaign? Who will compile and deliver that information?
  • How quickly can sales follow up on new inquiries?
  • What can be automated or simplified to enable faster sales follow-up on new leads/opportunities?

Clearly defining how a lead gets into and out of each stage is essential.

Item 3: Work from the same set of measurement reports.

Review the entire pipeline together, regularly, using your jointly-defined lead management process and terms.

Bottom line: if your leads are going to be turned into revenue, it’s the Sales team who will do it. Find out how you can make them more successful, and they will make you more successful.

For more marketing insights, download our white paper:

10 causes of Marketing Automation failure (and what you can do about it).

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