Over the past few months I’ve spent a good deal of time with a variety of smart demand generation marketers at meetings and conferences that covered hot button topics including Account Based Marketing, Predictive Analytics, Purchase Intent Data, Lead Management platforms, Inbound and more.
There is a prevailing feeling that generation marketing is getting more complicated. A scan of the landscape of marketing technology vendors and solutions shows that the options available to (and aggressively sold to) marketers is ever increasing.
Despite this complexity and challenges we all face, one of the clear takeaways I have from the past few months is the need for marketers to simplify and focus on the fundamentals. Unless and until you can get the basics right, no amount of technology spend or media strategy brilliance will truly succeed.
To that end, every leading vendor and client success story I have heard in the past several months has had one common theme: Alignment between Marketing and Sales. If your Marketing is not well aligned with your sales team, stop reading this and schedule a face to face with the leadership of your sales team immediately.
The key aspects of this alignment are:
- Agreement on who the target customer is!
- Agreement on metrics and common definitions. For example, what is a “lead”, and beyond that, what is an MQL, SQL, SAL, etc.? It is alarming how often we find that sales and marketing are not in agreement on basic terminology.
- Making sure the sales team has the content they need to sell the product effectively! It does no good to have great content if it doesn’t get into the hands of your sales team or is not what they need. Sales should be part of the content development process
- Establish SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and clearly defined process with the sales team. Where do the leads go? Who follows up, how, when? Which leads go to nurture, which go to inside sales, which go to an account rep? These standards should be clear and signed off by all parties involved, not left to the discretion of an individual in the process.
- ROI feedback from sales: If marketing cannot extract proper data on ROI including clear attribution back to the lead source, this must be fixed. Otherwise it is impossible to properly optimize and adjust strategies to drive better results. You must have a feedback loop.
- Always having an answer to the question: “Hey, what are we doing with these leads coming in through our website?” Inbound leads should be the most highly valued!
It is true that it may be more difficult for larger established companies to make the necessary changes to the people, processes and systems to achieve this alignment. Unfortunately it is not optional if a company wants to survive and beat back those smaller more agile competitors! It must be a priority from the top down to make this a reality.
So may I ask: While we work together to build a fantastic, next-generation integrated demand generation framework utilizing the best of inbound and outbound strategies to drive revenue for your organization, can we please try to make sure someone from sales is in the room?
Just Media, Inc.