In my previous blog post I have written about basic concepts of Inbound Methodology – it is all about customer and customers journey and experience. Inbound Methodology can be divided in two different but connected parts:
- Inbound Marketing
- Inbound Sales
Companies with strong marketing and sales alignment get 20% annual revenue growth! – HubSpot
What does it mean to have a strong marketing-sales connection?
Strong marketing-sales connection means that both teams need to have interdependent organizational goals. Maybe even same organizational goals. Maybe even they are same team or department. Maybe.
Interdependent organizational goals and awareness of importance of collaboration will be a step forward from today‘s practices. Based on conversations and discussions with marketing and sales representatives, there are a lot of companies which are:
- Not sure what is the value of the marketing department (and probably they are not taking advantages of marketing activities).
- Far away of being aware that marketing and sales could together achieve more
You are wrong…
- If you are looking at a marketing department just as a team of people responsible to write company news and post them on your social profile.
- If you are looking at a marketing department just as a team that need to print business cards and promotional flyers.
In both cases (and many others), you are far, far away from having strong marketing-sales alignment.
You need to take an advantage of marketing!
Modern organizations should understand that top of the sales funnel is actually bottom of the marketing funnel. Even more, this is the same funnel! Marketing pipeline should be tied to sales quotas. In order to achieve N closed deals, sales needs N1 opportunities. And in order to have N1 opportunities, marketing should attract N2 leads and have N3 visitors.
Take a look at the next Marketing & Sales Funnel.
This is high level funnel that represents connection between marketing and sales, without additional explanations what represents MQL or SQL for example. This funnel lack of necessary details in order to be applied as it needs to be. I will go into details in future posts.
How to achieve this?
- Based on historical data companies should know what is conversion rate between each of funnel stages. On that way, company can easy estimate numbers for each of stages. For example, if sales need to close 10 deals they need 100 opportunities (qualified opportunities) and in order to have 100 opportunities marketing will know that they need to attract 10 000 visitors. Tracking historic data will allow better understanding of what can happen in the future. And not just that. you can read great article which address importance of the data in marketing.
- Additionally, it is not just about quantitatively metrics that drive success in this funnel and in this relationship. Both departments should maintain open communication and feedback loop. This is especially important for defining overall strategy and for defining buyer personas. If you don’t have concrete buyer personas you should at least understand who are your customers. Marketing will “educate” sales in terms of online activities, social media conversations and topics which are of the interest of current and potentials customers. On the other hand, sales should provide hands-on experience from the customers in order to help marketing team to better understand customer needs.
Even more, modern sales representatives should have strong on-line presence and participate in communication and discussion with industry leaders (that also mean expertise, but this is not the subject of this blog post).
What is missing?
Everything written is primarily focused on software and technology solutions. Thus, I am referencing on solution selling that is oriented toward customer’s specific problems not just selling existing products. And I intentionally haven’t mentioned technology specialists/consultants which are also very important in whole process.
Software developers, system engineers, data scientists, quality assurance, support engineers, product managers, … These are all one huge wheel in this process. Marketing, Sales and Technical roles must work together in order to achieve best possible results. They all should do their work and they all should work together.
To conclude this topic, I would say…
Customer don’t care about nice meetings, amazingly proposed solutions or great website content if company cannot deliver SOLUTION. On the other side, it does not matter how great solution or software architecture you can deliver if customer don’t know that you exist and that you actually have SOLUTION for him.