Marketing and sales are disconnected. While both are responsible for generating revenue, marketing teams claim salespeople can’t close deals while sales reps suggest marketers deliver low-quality leads. Though there may be some truth to each complaint, interdepartmental bickering will quickly ruin high-potential business opportunities. The secret to long-term success is marrying marketing and sales so workers from both sides may operate in harmony while strategically leveraging each other's strengths and weaknesses.
To do so, here are 3 concrete ways companies can bridge marketing and sales.
1. Track MQLs and SQLs Separately
Scaling sales in a cost-efficient and timely manner is no small feat. That is where marketers come in. Marketers swoop in to generate leads at volume, using a variety of tactics such as content marketing, paid advertising, social media promotion, and trade show sponsorships. As a result, they drive a significant number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).
SOMAmetrics defines MQLs as “prospects that have indicated interest in your company’s products or services by doing something such as downloading a white paper, attending a webinar or seminar, giving you their cards during a trade show, etc.” Though they have demonstrated interest, businesses must learn more about these prospects before passing them onto sales reps. That is because only a fraction of MQLs are strong candidates to become long-term customers.
Since sales is such a laborious process, salespeople should spend their time exclusively interacting with Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). RingDNA considers an SQL to be a prospect who has the budget to buy your product, the authority to make a purchasing decision, the need for your specific solutions, and is ready to close the deal and implement your offerings.
Effective marketing and sales teams keep track of MQLs and SQLs closely, measuring overall performance monthly or quarterly. Growing companies should aim to increase both figures, while improving the number of MQLs that convert into SQLs.
2. Integrate Marketing Automation Software with your CRM
At a certain point, the number of leads you nurture becomes unmanageable. Opportunities will fall through the cracks and your business may falter.
Integrating marketing automation tools with your CRM simplifies your approach to sales at scale. With the ability to score leads, track each buyer’s individual behaviors and share other insights gathered about each customer, sales teams become smarter and convert more prospectsinto paying customers.
A 2013 survey by Focus Research suggests 75% of companies that leverage marketing automation generate positive ROI within 12 months. Coupled with CRM technology, businesses benefit 8 ways according to Kapost:
- Simplified lead nurturing and increased brand affinity.
- Better educated customers who are more likely to purchase and convert at a lower customer acquisition cost.
- Intelligence concerning customer behaviors around the web.
- Lead scoring which measures their interest and purchase intent.
- Shorter sales cycles with automated content delivery.
- Reengages inactive leads through retargeting.
- Smart filtering that only sends sales-ready leads to sales representatives to target.
- Analytics that help identify critical contributors of success.
3. Recruit a Sales Enablement Manager
To make sense of the collateral marketers develop, hire a sales enablement manager who will be responsible for supplying frontline salespeople with the knowledge, information and materials they need to engage potential buyers and close more deals. This individual will be responsible for coordinating with marketing to build a library of content sales reps may reference when interacting with clients.
Forrester explains sales enablement as “a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer's problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system.” Sales enablement allows teams to coordinate the various types of messages they plan to send to potential clients, ensuring accuracy and consistency with each sales pitch.
Sales enablement managers also work closely with marketers to provide important context about sales team goals, client needs, and related success metrics. Acting as a liaison between the two departments, sales enablement managers foster a highly-effective working relationship between marketing and sales.
How do you connect the dots between marketing and sales to drive real results for your business?