Counseling the Marriage Between Marketing and Sales to Generate Revenue
A very important but often overlooked objective by consultants in marketing is [drum roll] … Revenue.
Everything you do in marketing must align with your sales process to generate revenue. As a consultant, that is how you will bring the most value to your clients. Think about yourself as a relationship counselor almost.
As a consultant, playing the role of relationship counselor requires you to achieve multiple goals, while keeping both partners on an even playing field. It’s a little like hand holding while leading two people who’ve been hurt, or are upset with one another, to understand each other.
Marketing Alignment with the sales organization gives a positive direction to everything you do. It’s not just about marketing department success or the success of your sales superstar, either. Think about achieving joined revenue success for the overall company! A one-sided relationship is not a successful relationship.
But why is alignment important in the business world?
57% of the buyer’s journey is completed before the buyer talks to sales, according to Gartner. Prospects know more about you than what you know about them.
In truth, most of the journey your customers take is already over by the time they speak with a salesperson, so that’s a tremendous opportunity for marketing to influence the sales process and dovetail together in creating a seamless experience.
Companies that have aligned sales and marketing teams achieve up to 19% faster growth and 15% higher profitability. (Source: 2015 B-2-B Buying Study from SiriusDecisions). Those are the kinds of results you want to produce for your clients.
It’s not always just lead volume or activity for the sake of keeping busy; it’s also quality and effectiveness. The successful marriage of marketing activities with the sales process will help you identify, attract and convert better quality leads. Both sides can entwine with a few easy steps:
- Share revenue goals and work together as a single team
- Actively communicate in a feedback loop
- Use common revenue language as opposed to your individual jargon
- Be vested in each other’s success; it’s the success of the organization at stake
So, what might you have to manage as a consultant? Let’s touch on some of the most important points.
Like relationship partners, it’s important for sales and marketing to have the same mutual expectations. If one partner expects flowers and romance and to be swept off their feet, but the other partner expects to come home and fall down into a recliner, and just forget about everything until the next day, they don’t share mutual expectations, and it will lead to strife. The same thing applies to sales and marketing. Consider these statistics put out by InsideView:
So, one of the first requirements is to make sure everyone is on the same page where expectations are concerned. Sales should understand what marketing requires, and marketing should understand what sales needs, but most importantly WHY those expectations matter in order to really deliver on them.
Revenue Goals = Marketing Goals = Sales Goals
Revenue trumps it all! That means revenue goals equate to marketing goals and sales goals. Both sides have the same ultimate objective – to drive profitability and success for the organization. However, that can’t be achieved without mutual understanding, collaboration and cooperative efforts. It’s the same in any relationship. If two partners cannot work together to build a future for themselves, they’ll ultimately fail. You can’t afford such a breakup between marketing and sales.
In the interests of collaboration and cooperation, you’ll need to dig into the situation. Start by learning more about sales, what the team needs, and the challenges they face. Again, this is no different from having a heart-to-heart with a significant other. If you can’t meet them on even terms, you’re doomed at the outset.
Make the first step and ask these questions to your client’s sales organization:
- What do you consider a sales ready lead? How can we generate more of those?
- Where are your opportunities stuck in the pipeline? What content would they benefit from?
- How long is your sales cycle? How can we nurture leads along the sales cycle?
- What number do you need to hit your quarterly target?
The answers to these questions will help plan your marketing activities, methods, reporting and everything in between.
Something Is Broken in the Process…
As a consultant, you work on campaigns, then everything goes into a black box and somehow the sales organization needs to close leads. There’s a significant disconnect here between campaigns and closing sales, and that can cause immense friction between these two separate but interrelated parts of your client’s business.
Thankfully, there are several simple things you can do to close that gap and foster better understanding, communication and, ultimately, revenue generation. These include:
- Consistent vocabulary: Use the same words for the same processes, activities, goals and other metrics. Avoid jargon.
- Work together and stay together:
- Define buyer personas: Know to whom you’re marketing, before you start, and ensure that sales has the same knowledge.
- Understand your client’s company’s products and services: Without this understanding, your sales and marketing activities are imperfect – flawed.
- Understand the sales cycle: Know where each customer is in the sales cycle, what has come before, and what steps come next, whether you’re talking top, middle or bottom of the funnel.
- Understand verticals, target audiences and markets: Without being able to segregate, you’re attempting to treat everyone the same, regardless of their place in the sales funnel, their needs, or their goals.
- Get sales’ input on what content is available and content is needed: Sales can be marketing’s most valuable ally in content ideation, generation, and creation. Make use of their invaluable insight to leverage greater results and drive revenue.
- Listen in on sales calls: This can give you significant comprehension of the challenges sales faces when marketing hands off a lead, allowing you to better tailor your marketing activities.
At the End of the Day
When it’s all said and done, sales and marketing have to share the same house. A strong relationship between the two is vital. By defining roles and expectations, using the same language, and truly understanding the challenges, hurdles, and processes used in both departments and the interrelationships and interdependencies of those, it is possible to achieve greater results and drive better revenue generation for your clients.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Sales.
About the Author
Dan Radu, Founder & Principal Consultant at Macromator Inc, helps enterprise companies align their marketing operations (MOps) with the sales process. The marketing operations agency developed a unique agency model to effectively service enterprise marketing operations on a global scale.