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Nick Sargent shares his thoughts on why sales and marketing need to agree up front on lead scoring criteria to be successful.
Welcome to part two of Director of Digital Strategy Nick Sargent’s interview about the biggest marketing challenges he helps clients tackle. Read on to learn why Nick believes that sales and marketing need to agree up front on lead value and more.
The Need for Sales and Marketing Alignment
A critical misstep that we see a lot of companies make is a misalignment between marketing and sales on lead value. The marketing team says, “We generated leads. We don’t know what sales is doing with them,” or “We generate leads and sales doesn’t do anything with them.” The question that should get asked is, “What is sales saying about these leads?”
And there’s often no answer because marketing is not having conversations with sales. So, my advice is, “Go and ask sales what a qualified lead is.” Sales’ job is to go after real prospects and real opportunities. They will be able to tell you pretty quickly what a great lead for them looks like.
It really boils down to sales and marketing having a great relationship, but it’s often more like a sibling rivalry. They’re competing instead of working together, instead of collaborating. You have to put aside old baggage and start building that relationship. Show that you care about what sales is doing. Let them know you want to help them achieve their sales goals.
Your job as a marketer, as growth marketers, should be to partner with sales. Be their strategic partner. Deliver leads that close quicker and are of higher quality, so that they’re meeting their goals more efficiently. Basically, you want to bring in leads that are going to make sales love you because you’re helping them reach their revenue goals.
The best way to do this is to start asking questions. “What do you need from marketing? What works well and what doesn’t? What would you like to see marketing do?” This will help you understand the pain that your sales team experiences when they’re addressing the pain that your customers are feeling.
And that’s great insight to have. One really valuable resource that we offer is a sales team survey. One of the main reasons is to get feedback, but the other reason is to set a benchmark to say, “Alright, this is where we are with the sales team today. As we work more closely with them, are we closing the gap in their expectations?”
You’ll find that once you establish a good relationship, the conversation with sales quickly expands from lead criteria to marketing materials and other joint initiatives, like use of the CRM system, “Alright, we’ve got to get the CRM cleaned up. We’ve got to get it integrated with our ERP [enterprise resource planning software], get it integrated with the other systems where customer information lies so we get a full view of the customer.”
You know that your marketing materials should answer prospects’ questions, and make your customers love you, too. But, the misstep is often that marketing simply takes collateral orders from sales. We hear, “Well, just make me this piece of content or make me this pamphlet.” All of a sudden, we have a huge library of similar pieces done 100 different ways. You’ve got to be strategic in what both departments spend your time on, and act as strategic partners in moving leads forward.
Marketing should give prospects and customers the information they need to make a decision to engage with your organization. Combining what they’re asking for with what sales thinks is going to help them get a contact to “yes” – that’s going to bring in a more qualified lead.
Once a prospect begins moving along the funnel to become a qualified lead, the next question is, are you giving the sales team sales enablement materials? Are you helping them close the deal?
Both groups should be tracking qualified lead conversions. Your organization probably has a lead value scoring system to help with this – but are you using it effectively and are you aligned with sales? At the end of the day, you should be scoring leads based on criteria with which sales agrees. Because if they’re not following up on your leads, you’re wasting a lot of time and money. And, if you help sales hit their numbers, marketing will get the credit it deserves.
To learn more about how to align sales and marketing, and turn your marketing department into a growth marketing engine, check out these free resources:
And, visit us again in a couple of weeks for part three of Nick Sargent’s marketing and communications musings. To learn how growth marketing and sales alignment can help your organization, contact Nick Sargent at firstname.lastname@example.org.