To maximize a company’s revenue result and customer experience, B2B Sales and Marketing teams need to align around similar objectives. Recent trends point to both sales and marketing are getting increased scrutiny for the following reasons:
- Suspect to prospect to deal close time has increased significantly these last two quarters compared to quarters past due to the economy.
- ROI is demanded in all investments – Marketing is an investment (typically 5-7% of revenues of B2B companies >$500M – or expenditure if you are a CFO )
In most B2B companies that are $50M+ in revenue size, there are typically separate heads of marketing and sales, thus leading to an increased chance that marketing is disconnected from the sales process, sales people, or customers. Consequently, marketing could celebrate their own ‘lead quantity’ which is handed off to sales versus the actual impact marketing makes on actual revenue. So what approach could sales and marketing better work with one another in this economic environment?
- A pipeline commitment: Marketing needs to take a more active role getting involved with the traditional sales pipeline. With better sales pipeline visibility (ala Salesforce.com), marketing needs to create the right programs to accelerate deals in the later stages of the pipeline. Specifically, competitive positioning talking points to best arm the sales organization, references of positive customers, or business case tools (Alinean, Mindseye Analytics) that help meet net new objections in the latter part of the selling cycles.
- A Marketing SLA (service level agreement) between the head of sales who is the primary internal customer and her marketing counterpart, initiated by the marketing leader: Sales should demand lead quality SLA—how many leads and under what conditions are a lead considered a keeper by a sales organization?
- Deal autopsy—figure out how deals become deals (both wins and the rare losses companies experience). What programs are impacting the selling cycles, what messages, what ROI tools? Once this feedback is gained, test drive what are the winning concepts with a prospect to calibrate feedback. The resulting information becomes the genesys of a deal play book to help calibrate new sales efforts.
It’s all about sales and marketing effectiveness in our new economy! What have you found effective to push your revenue cycles and why is that effective for you?