Sales and Marketing are like cheese and wine, both go hand in hand and complement each other. As a Marketing Manager, you recognise the need for a strong partnership between the departments to drive revenue and growth. However, disconnection between the two teams is not uncommon, often resulting in wasted money and lost opportunities.
In this article, we will examine methods for bridging the gap between Sales and Marketing.
The first step in closing the gap between Sales and Marketing is to align on goals and key milestones. This requires the formulation of measurable and defined objectives for both teams, as well as periodic evaluations to ensure that everyone is on track.
Establishing open channels of communication and cooperation between Sales and Marketing is an essential method for closing the disconnect between the two departments. Regular meetings, cross-functional events and quarterly business reviews are a good way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and in agreement with the business plans set in place. Marketing spend a lot of time and money on generating leads for Sales to convert into opportunities, and if the objectives and context are not always clear, Sales may not understand their role in this strategy and could burn through all the efforts you’ve spent hours executing.
By keeping Sales informed on everything that you’re doing to help them succeed, it’s only going to lead to better harmony.
Know the Difference
It is critical to align the definitions of a lead, a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) to prevent confusion and misunderstanding. A lead is a potential customer who has shown interest in your brand and they match a set of agreed criteria that means you could eventually acquire them as a customer.
An MQL is a lead that meets the mentioned criteria specified by Marketing and has qualified by showing an interest and agreement to receive marketing communications; and an SQL is a lead that has satisfied the criteria set by Sales and is prepared to be contacted and pursued. Certain criteria that Sales might be interested in could include, the level of engagement from the prospect (how often they’re opening emails or engaging with further content) and whether they’ve specified a timeline that they’re looking to make a purchase, for example.
So long as Sales are only receiving SQLs and not MQLs, they should be able to have conversations with prospects and progress them more efficiently to the next stage in the sales cycle.
But how do you know if a lead is an MQL or an SQL? A proven way to differentiate the two is by using a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) which will enable you to create a clear and structured drip campaign, scoring leads based on their engagement with your company.
Training and Support
Sometimes, organisations will train their Sales and Marketing teams once at the beginning of their employment and then never again. It’s important to have frequent refresher sessions so that reps can continually shape and strengthen their game. After a while, we can all get a bit forgetful and the quality of our work can slip if we get into a routine and don’t mix it up with a check-in and a reset on our goals and KPIs.
Having said, many Marketing professionals face a common challenge – their Sales team are constantly frustrated with the leads that their receiving. Ultimately, this is due to one main reason. Sales are bottom-funnel closers, with targets to drive revenue for their business. With those revenue targets over their head, it can be very difficult to encourage them to have patience and play the long game – i.e. wait for Marketing’s leads to become warm enough for a call with a BDR. Whereas, Marketing has the pressure of generating leads for the Sales team to have those bottom-funnel conversations with. We know that you’ve probably got a huge target to influence pipeline and so generating top-of-funnel leads can be frustrating for everyone because you want to secure quick wins and take some of that pressure off.
It cannot be stressed enough, no matter what top-of-funnel marketing strategy you’re using to drive growth to your database, it is a collaborative effort between Sales and Marketing to nurture these leads and warm them up together, before reaching out on the first touchpoint and asking for a meeting.
With the right training and support on how to nurture leads and become trusted, reputable experts in your field, Sales are going to continue to BANT qualify your content syndication leads. It’s never going to be a fruitful strategy.
With each lead generation campaign, we deliver Sales alignment training to provide your Sales teams with the information, research and tips necessary to transform leads into opportunities.
In conclusion, closing the gap between Sales and Marketing is essential for revenue growth and effective collaboration. Key techniques include aligning goals and objectives, creating clear lines of communication and cooperation, aligning definitions and ways to track lead progression, and offering training and assistance so that everyone wins! Sales close leads that are genuinely interested and ready to speak to them and Marketing look like superstars! Hello promotion!