After wrestling with some post production issues, I’m finally posting the Sales & Marketing Alignment webinar from last week. I decided to try ClickMeeting.com as opposed to GoToMeeting. GoTo produces the best quality and I am most familiar with the program controls, but the software is so clunky it’s like using a Heidelberg to print 50 business cards. Pass along any other web meeting software recommendations. I’m open to suggestions!

Our conversation was great and we covered a lot of ground in just over 30 minutes. My objective with the call was to first explore the reasons why the division exists and to demonstrate how we can overcome these issues to close more business, among other goals. My colleagues Kathleen and Scott (their LinkedIn details below) provided two unique perspectives with some overlapping themes. Kathleen explored the difference between marketing & sales, citing the operational structure and how it can foster a divided mentality between the two teams. In her words:

A common scenario that impacts sales is that most, if not all leads are sent directly to sales, rather than when the prospects are deemed sales-ready. It’s not about the number of leads generated, but the quality and more importantly the position of the lead within the buying cycle that should determine when a lead is sent to the sales team.

Kathleen makes a great point. Marketers work hard to produce leads and when they don’t turn into business it’s disappointing. It’s easy to point the finger in the direction of your sales team, assuming they could have done more to close the business. That may or may not be true. But it is still the job of a marketer to analyze what works and what doesn’t. First steps are:

  1. Opening communication between the departments to define a prospects needs
  2. Creating content that “pulls” prospects through the sales funnel
  3. Timing the delivery of content to match the prospects stage in the cycle
  4. Leveraging metrics, and scoring to improve results

It’s important to mention that alignment of technology platforms is what makes all of this possible. When salespeople have deep insight into the prospect’s behaviors, they can more easily pick up where the marketing team left off.

Kathleen also touched on lead scoring, the process of recording a prospects interactions with your marketing material, applying a score to their activity and generating alerts when they reach sales-readiness. This is a central feature of marketing automation, and one that requires close scrutiny.

Scott helped provide more insight on how to dial-in your campaign using analytics and testing. It should be noted that Scott’s experience includes managing enterprise-level automation campaigns at Box, a file sharing juggernaut.

He recommends tracking all inbound and outbound marketing & business development activities. In his words:

What this allows you to do for each one of the activities that you track is report the full pipeline metrics for that activity. This helps answer questions like:

  • How many inquiries do we have coming in the door?
  • How many are converting to leads for sales to start working?
  • How many become opportunities?
  • What is the pipeline revenue?
  • How many close and become actual revenue for your company?

We are establishing a common reporting methodology that both marketing and sales can use to make informed decisions as a team.

Scott goes on to discuss specific scenarios and how to use the information to produce better results.

As marketing automation continues to grow in popularity, it will be essential to optimize the use of this technology. Simply using it out of the box won’t be enough to stay ahead of the curve. You will gain an essential competitive advantage when sales & marketing work together to refine the process and close the communication gap.

Topics from the presentation include:

  • Defining and addressing the disconnect between sales & marketing
  • Alignment of technology platforms
  • Combining efforts to pull prospects through the sales funnel
  • The process for automating lead scoring and real-time alerts
  • Enterprise-level data management techniques
  • Process refinements

Learn more about the speakers:

Ryan Goodin, Marketing Strategies and Consultant, Diligent Brands

Kathleen Boulden: Vice President, Digital Marketing, PrismWorks, Inc.

K. Scott Davis: Head of Business and Marketing Analytics, Deutsche Telekom HBS