Successful marketing campaigns generate high quality leads that convert to sales; however, the interdependence between sales and marketing teams is often overlooked.
Over the last year, companies prioritized investing in website optimization, digital media and search, data analytics, and direct digital marketing efforts to improve their sales performance (CMO Survey, August 2021). Despite these efforts, 44% of companies aren’t using any kind of lead scoring system and consequently sales teams reported 50% of their time is wasted on poor quality prospects (Hubspot).
The vast majority of sales and marketing teams are misaligned, ultimately costing businesses time and money. Excellent marketing strategies and a top tier sales team, working independently of each other, are no longer enough to meet business goals.
It’s time to start collaborative, cross-team conversations.
How does misalignment between teams happen?
Misalignment stems from details that may seem obvious, but nevertheless get swept under the rug.
Something as simple as inconsistent interpretations of lead goals and qualified lead definitions can steer marketing and sales teams in different directions.
A sales team’s disorganized lead tracking process is another hindrance to understanding if marketing campaigns are working to produce high quality leads. Scattered data storage creates subjective lead qualification, not representative of marketing efforts’ true contributions to sales results.
For definition and lead tracking inconsistencies, lack of communication across teams is to blame. Without feedback about the customer’s sales journey, misalignment and missed opportunities persist.
How do we create alignment?
1. Foster consistent communication across teams
To fix lack of communication the solution is to, of course, communicate!
Start by internalizing the value of sales and marketing teams sharing feedback. Establish a regular communication cadence to figure out what’s working (and what’s not) to improve lead quality and drive sales.
2. Recognize marketing impact throughout sales funnel
Think about the impact of marketing in the sales funnel. A standard sales funnel broadly recognizes initial marketing efforts to reach new potential customers.
This standard view doesn’t take into account how digital marketing has expanded with users entering and exiting the sales funnel at many points from various channels. Understanding how all marketing channels work together to provide value offers guidance for future strategies.
3. Delegate lead goal and fulfillment tracking
Once sales and marketing teams are communicating, it’s time to set lead goals and affirm definitions.
Sales and customer engagement influence almost 50% of campaign feedback for marketers (CMO Survey, August 2021). But, if sales and marketing aren’t measuring marketing impact in the same way, campaign impact is skewed.
To guide sales driven campaigns, marketing teams should be asking their sales counterparts:
What is considered a “true lead”?
When does an action become a lead? (Establish the difference between a “Marketing Qualified Lead” and a “Sales Qualified Lead”)
Together, sales and marketing need to decide which team is responsible for what types of leads. For example, Is marketing accountable for closed leads or just generated leads?
Answering these questions is imperative to accurately calculating marketing efforts’ return on investment (ROI).
Companies consider sales lift as 24.8% of metrics used to evaluate marketing actions compared to just 13.9% for ROI (CMO Survey, August 2021). This assessment identifies a crucial gap in evaluating the efficiency of promotional lift to sales. If companies are spending more on a campaign than the resulting lift, marketing isn’t supporting sales, whether they know it or not.
To track sales and ROI, measure lead conversions and their value. Less than half of businesses are currently measuring lead conversions steadily, and 27% are checking lead fulfillment periodically or not at all (CMO Survey, August 2021). This is in contrast to the 79% of businesses who always measure their sales and revenue. Given that sales are driven by converted leads, tracking and qualifying those leads helps to paint a fuller picture of audiences reached and influenced by marketing campaigns.
4. Establish a lead flow process
Remember the standard sales funnel? Let’s reimagine it as a synergetic tool:
Rather than the life of a sale ending with a closed deal, have the sales team document the sales journey. Relaying this information to the marketing team creates a valuable feedback loop to optimize future strategies. By focusing on refining ads and content users interacted with prior to purchase, campaigns will reach more users in ways that we now know work to drive qualified leads and sales.
5. Integrate and automate sales feedback
Keeping track of leads and reporting back to the marketing team is an extra step in the sales process, but it doesn’t have to be a manual chore. Automate feedback with customer relationships management (CRM) systems.
So, how does it work?
Let’s look at Google Ads Offline Conversion Importing:
When a user clicks on an ad, they are assigned a unique ID that tracks their journey from the first website click all the way through the sales process. The ID records lead value and time between marketing interactions/closed sales, among other things.
With that data existing in internal CRM systems, it can be imported back into Google Ads to see what keywords, campaigns, and audience selections are working. With tangible results, it’s easier for marketing teams to pursue digital efforts that accurately inform algorithms and drive sales.
What are the benefits of cross team alignment?
When marketing and sales teams align, businesses win.
Companies with communicative, lead oriented teams reported 208% more marketing generated revenue and sales close rates improved by 67% (Hubspot).
Reliance on isolated goals and interpretations turns into collaborative, profitable efforts as teams recognize their contributions in the sales funnel and do more of what works. Eliminating marketing strategies that don’t meet sales needs equates to less time wasted and goals met more consistently.