It doesn’t matter if you are a sales or marketing professional — to truly do your job correctly, there must be constant communication and alignment between the sales and marketing groups.
This can easily get out of whack as these two functional groups are compensated differently and have, at times, conflicting objectives. According the Corporate Executive Board, 87% of the terms sales and marketing use to describe each other are negative.
The best way to proactively address any friction and increase overall organization performance is a routine meeting between the executive in charge of each group — the CMO and Vice President of Sales.
If you have yet to implement this at your company or just want to expand the conversation beyond the a discussion of lead quality, we suggest the following agenda:
1. Revenue Recap
What closed this week/day/month? What was the lead source, dollar value, and time to close? How was the decision made? What sales tools were most valuable? What did it truly cost to acquire these customers?
Starting the conversation about revenue and sales pipeline performance emphasizes the shared focus on driving customer conversions and revenue for the company.
2. Process Improvements
Where did friction or inefficiency enter the picture? Do sales reps have the right content to drive closing activities? What content and pitches are working? Are there content gaps? Does marketing have a clear understanding of what type(s) of prospect to drive into the funnel? Is there a “closed loop” that extends from marketing to sales to customer so that feedback, performance, and needs are known and understood?
Focusing next on process reinforces shared responsibility for the customer acquisition process and all its pieces. If there is no integrated marketing to sales process, then time to sketch one out.
3. Restate and Review Qualified Lead Definition
What makes a truly qualified lead – sales qualified and marketing qualified? What characteristics must they possess?
When the leadership and entire sales and marketing organizations by extension have a shared and agreed upon definition of what type of leads are actually meaningful to the organization, everyone is aligned around those criteria and disagreements around what makes a “good lead’ become at thing of the past.
4. Service Level Agreement (SLA)
What marketing will do within what time period and what sales will do within what time period. This includes marketing delivering leads that meet the qualified lead definition at a certain volume and sales conducting timely follow up and providing feedback back to marketing.
Maybe calling it a “service level agreement” is too formal, but this is an understanding of what each group will do for the other and can be held accountable to do it by their leadership. HubSpot does a nice job explaining the concept of a Sales and Marketing Service Level Agreement and how to create one.
5. Staffing and Talent
Are the right people in the right roles? Are incentives and compensation aligned with business objectives? Does sales need training? Does marketing need education on the problem and space?
A recurring discussion of organizational structure goes a long way to quickly identify weaknesses and a shared view on where hiring investments need to be made to benefit the customer acquisition process.
6. Major Activities Until Next Meeting
What marketing campaigns are planned? What events are occurring? What internal sales promos are being held?
We assume there is regular updates to the sales team (and company) about major marketing activities and that sales shares its victories and lessons learned with the balance of the company. If not, then implement that quickly. Use this agenda item for a high-level discussion of what is planned and surfacing new ideas – a event someone heard about, a customer case study opportunity from a new customer, etc.
Yes, there are lots of other areas to get into and no shortage of details that will come up but a regular and routine discussion of the items above between sales and marketing leadership in an organization will ensure alignment and efficiency in go-to-market activities.
What would you add? How do you do it at your company?