One of the biggest problems in business has always been the compartmentalization of departments, divisions and teams.
Often, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. This always (I said always) leads to miscommunication, mistakes and overall lack of harmony.
This is especially true of the business development arena. Why do we separate Marketing and Sales like they are two different squads?
Let's break down the traditional functions of these traditional departments.
- Marketing generates leads
- Sales calls upon leads
In the past, marketing would create an advertisement for the company and place those ads. In turn, sales would make outbound calls, and wait on leads to come in from the work of the marketing department.
The problem with this one way street is that the process takes too long to improve. Without feedback from the sales department in the early stages of marketing, the message might not be optimized for the target marketing persona.
How do we make the change?
For starters, align the goals of the departments.
How can we work together if we do not have the same goals? Many marketing departments have no idea what kind of results are being seen with the leads they generate. Conversely, many sales professionals blame poor sales performance on the lack of quality leads provided by their marketing department.
In order to break down the barriers, we must break down these walls. Open and honest communication between departments is the only way to achieve maximum efficiency (or at least get close).
Quotas are a valuable measurement tool for sales professionals. Why not, then, are we holding our marketing department to similar quotas? With a closed loop sales process (tracking the marketing source for each sales opportunity), we can now measure the effectiveness of each campaign!
Shouldn't the marketing pro get credit for creating the content that led to 50% of the sales last month? Heck yes they should.
We can also learn what is not working in order to maximize focus on winning campaigns. For instance, Marketing Mary & Sales Steven both work for Company CorpCo, which creates premium widgets for their clients. In order to target the audience for premium widgets, Mary creates a helpful eBook about DIY widget-making and places it behind a landing page on the CorpCo website. Potential customers fill out a direct response form in order to download the eBook. The offer performs very well. Hundreds of leads come in the very first month after the offer is made available. However, when Steven calls the leads, he finds that the vast majority of them are not sales qualified.
Let's look at two of the possible ways this story can go:
Departments NOT Aligned
Following up with the massive amount of leads takes up much of Steven's time. He becomes increasingly frustrated that most of the leads are not ready for a sales call, and begins to stop following up with them.
Mary continues to drive traffic to the offer, and feels good about the number of leads that are coming in.
Following up with the massive amount of leads takes up much of Steven's time. It turns out that most of the leads are not ready for a sales call. Steven communicates with Mary about the issue.
After discussing the issue, turns out that Mary has been generating marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and not sales ready leads.
Mary suggests that they provide an additional lead nurturing step to help further qualify the leads. She creates an additional offer to send out to the contacts generated from the eBook offer. This one is called "Choosing The Right Premium Widget Making Company". About 15% of people who downloaded the original ( more generic ) guide downloaded this offer. They have in turn identified themselves as both interested in widgets, and considering premium widget-making services.
Calling on those who downloaded both offers is a much better use of Steven's time, and his close percentage is much higher from these sales qualified leads (SQL's).
Steven offers some additional content ideas to Mary based on questions he frequently receives from prospects. Mary plans to create specific content for the CorpCo website to help answer those questions for future prospects and to provide Steven with sharable resources for his sales funnel.
When departments communicate, everybody wins and processes get better. As a team, Mary and Steven worked together to solve a business problem, and ultimately generate more sales for the company.
There are many approaches to removing the barriers within an organization. It is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Apply for a free marketing assessment and speak with one of our Sales and Marketing Alignment consultants.