B2B Marketing Blog

5 Questions CMO’s Need to Ask Their VP of Sales

By Andrew Nguyen
Jan 14, 2015
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Sales and marketing alignment is a nice concept, but it can be hard to see what it looks like in practice. 

And unfortunately, when sales and marketing aren’t aligned it results in stats like these:

--99% of leads never turn into a customer (Forrester).

--61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified (MarketingSherpa).

--50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting.

But what these stats really show is that there is room for sales and marketing to decrease customer acquisition costs (CAC) and drive business value.

Sales and marketing alignment means quality lead generation happens at volume, and more prospects get through the funnel to sales close. In addition, alignment means these activities are becoming more efficient, driving down CAC.

So how do we get there? Alignment looks like this: shared revenue goals and shared understanding of sales/marketing data. By answering the right questions, CMO’s and the VP of Sales can deliver an important one-two punch: better lead generation and shorter sales cycles.

Here are the questions you need to be asking:

What Is Our Revenue Goal?

Both marketing and sales performance should be measured on revenue. By sharing the same success metric both teams can coordinate and communicate efficiently.

What information should marketing include when handing leads to the salesteam? By looking at attribution data and understanding which leads convert to revenue, what we call pipeline marketing, numerous questions can be answered to support bottom-of-funnel sales activity. 

For example, you would know which leads are hot, or which products or tiers are most important to leads. Supporting sales is helping close deals. 

What Do We Consider MQL And SQL?

Marketing and sales handoffs run smoothly when there’s clarity in terminology. Leads at each stage need to have clear and distinct qualifications. For example, did they submit a lead form, did they look at a specific product offering, or did they start a free trial?

These qualifications need to be clear to both teams. For teams with sales development reps, this information can be invaluable because pitches can be customized to fit the needs of prospects.

When it comes to defining sales qualifications, marketing teams can use this information to create personas.

b2b_marketing_qualifying_prospects

How Big Is Our Pipeline Today, And What’s The Forecast?

Both sales and marketing need to adjust their activities based on the pipeline. A common growth plan and pipeline forecast will allow both teams to adjust their activities accordingly.

Any dashboard or spreadsheet that shows pipeline forecast will help both teams focus their efforts. For example, does marketing need to focus on generating high volume leads or support the sales team with sales collateral?

 Are We Using The Same Language?

Too often sales and marketing utilize different messaging. This results in suboptimal sales calls and demos.

When prospects engage with your media they take away an idea of what your product does, and why they should trust your brand. Skepticism and confusion follows when these prospects get on a call and begin receiving different messaging than expected. Don’t let this happen.

Always double check that sales and marketing are using the same messaging and language. New products and messaging changes should always be consistent from top-of-funnel touch points through to sales close.

Does Our SLA Need Updating?

A service level agreement (SLA) helps makes demand generation campaigns run smoothly.  It helps sales and marketing understand how many leads will be delivered, what the response time should be from sales, how sales accepts or rejects leads, and what marketing can learn from rejected leads to improve targeting.

But over time a variety of factors can change the numbers used in SLA calculation. Certain paid channels can become exhausted, or sales may have input on the lead quality of certain channels.

While there’s no set cycle for updating SLA’s, monthly or quarterly is a good place to start.

Do You Know About Upcoming Events And Campaigns?

Coordination is required for events like conferences where there may be big spikes. Sales needs to prepare and tailor their process while marketing needs to decide how to measure the success of the event after the sales cycle.

Campaigns like paid media distribution or promotional offerings also require communication.

Before designing incentives or offering discounts via ads, loop in sales to determine if those discounts do not disrupt current sales processes or verbal promotions already in place.  

Likewise your sales management team may have excellent ideas about incentives, promotions or exciting messaging that could be used to drive innovative campaigns.

Anticipation

Sales and marketing alignment helps both teams anticipate the needs and desires of prospects.

When teams can anticipate the needs of prospects they close efficiently and effectively -- and have a dramatic impact on the cost of acquiring customers. Align your marketing and sales with revenue using Bizible. Click here to watch a demo.

Follow the Bizible blog and stay connected with the pipeline marketing community.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, demand generation, B2B Sales

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