Sales and marketing are often viewed as two sides of the same coin, but that doesn't mean they're automatically aligned. Often, sales and marketing are separate functions within an organization and if they become too siloed, conflicts and tension between the two departments can arise. When this happens, it’s not unrealistic to believe that company performance will ultimately suffer.
How can businesses bring everyone onto the same page? Data is the tool for bridging the divide. Data-centered sales and marketing teams are able to speak the same language and supercharge performance. Here’s how.
Analyze the Current Situation
What’s your current state of sales and marketing alignment? It’s time to start a dialogue – but it helps to have an objective guide. Taking stock of your numbers and metrics can open the door to honest and fruitful discussions about challenges and opportunities.
Examine these metrics for possible conversation-starters:
- Number of marketing-qualified leads. How many marketing leads are provided to the sales team on a regular basis? Where do these leads come from?
- Sales follow-up percentage. Does sales have a formal process for following-up with marketing generated leads? Of the leads that marketing provides to sales, what percentage receive follow-up? If the percentage is low, why?
- Marketing leads that enter the sales pipeline. How many marketing leads turn into actual opportunities? Is there a high percentage of follow-up by sales, but a low number of opportunities generated?
- Time and touchpoints for conversions. How long does it take for a prospect to become a customer? How many interactions does it take from both marketing and sales? Can this cycle become shorter or more efficient?
Where Data Can Create Alignment
When marketing and sales work together well, an increase in performance naturally follows. Here are key areas where data can act as a unifying force bring strategies in-sync.
Identifying ideal customer targets. Blending the sales team’s front-line experience with the marketing team’s’ digital analytics is a powerful form of intelligence. Marketing can leverage customer and third-party data to develop detailed “ideal customer” profiles to help sales focus efforts on the most profitable customer segments. Feedback from sales can help the marketing team refine brand messaging and develop marketing pieces that hit home.
Optimizing the marketing funnel. How are leads entering the marketing funnel? Where are the best conversions happening? How are contacts engaging with marketing content? Which content topics are they most interested in? This is good intel for the sales team, who can also provide feedback about which efforts produce the best quality leads.
Scoring Leads. A lead-scoring system assigns a value to different contact actions that accumulate into a score. For example, opening a marketing email might award five points, while visiting a sales landing page might be worth 20. Marketing and sales can work together to build lead-scoring system that creates consensus on lead-qualification criteria and when a contact is “sales ready.”
Understanding conversion metrics. Both marketing and sales should have a good grasp on where leads come from, which campaigns and actions elicit the best responses, which leads turn into revenue, and what it ultimately costs to acquire new customers. This will help both marketing and sales focus on the most rewarding efforts and optimize spend.
KPI dashboards. Sales and marketing can collaborate on Identifying the metrics that are most relevant to measuring progress of their teams’ contributions to the overall business objectives. A unified KPI dashboard with data visualizations can provide clear views for both teams about how their activities contribute to the shared goals. This provides a touchpoint for productive conversations that analyze the data, identify trends, and discuss any gaps or areas for improvement.
When sales and marketing are oriented around a shared understanding and goals, they become powerful and effective partners. Equip your teams with the right data, and watch them become a data-powered results engine. If you’d like to make data a driving force behind your sales and marketing results, just reach out to schedule a consultation!