Let’s get something on the discussion table right away, in a b-2-b world, sales is marketing’s customer. Say what? Yes, marketing invests key corporate dollars that help a sales team be more successful. Sales is the recipient of marketing’s output. Be that output sales qualified leads or assets that positively influence opportunities in a sales pipeline.
By treating sales like a customer, marketing will improve their ROI and their overall value to their sales peers. It’s all about value. Drive value to sales and they will come back for more. To improve your value, follow these three steps.
1. Reconstruct how you determine your investments. No longer should investments be made on inquiry, qualified lead or qualified opportunity volume and velocity. Yes that is important to understanding the lead performance side of the equation, but first focus on how your sales people execute against qualified opportunities in your sales process. Know by campaign and by lead tactic/source, the behaviors of your sales people. You are looking for investments that they like to consume. Sales people have long memories. They remember opportunities that were a waste of their time. Don’t continue to invest in tactics that result in opportunities that are a waste of their time. Get volume, velocity, behavior and activity details for every stage of the first three stages in your pipeline. Look for the investments that have the best volume and velocity in the top of your sales process. Then, go get more of them.
2. Get transparent. Show all of your analytics and insights to your sales leadership. Explain to them what you are seeing and make recommendations. Consult to them just like they are a customer, because they are your customer. Put your information directly in to your CRM system and not in your marketing automation system. Use reports that generate data directly inside of your CRM or, use the sales reports that are already developed. This way, you will be using the same calculations and algorithms that sales is using to generate their data. Everyone is now on the same page and your customer is getting the data where they trust it – in their CRM and not your fancy marketing automation system that they most likely don’t care to understand.
3. Communicate. Have a standard service level agreement and goals that you review at least monthly with your sales leadership. No skipping meetings. Going even four weeks without reviewing and talking about business performance will throw any team out of sync. This is the easiest of these three steps to mess up on. It only takes one click to cancel a meeting. Instead, make sure that the meeting is still held, but have the second in command of any person who can’t make the meeting attend in their absence.
A final note that is worth mentioning. Make sure you check your ego at the door for any interaction that you have with your internal customer. It’s not about what you know or what they don’t know. It’s about working as a team to generate the most profitable revenue possible in the shortest amount of time. I’ve personally seen many a revenue team fall apart due to egos. By following these three steps, many more people in your company will be looking at marketing as doing it “right” and of being a true valued partner to sales.