B2B Marketing Blog

How To Never Worry About Sales And Marketing Alignment Again

By Andrew Nguyen
Feb 23, 2015
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We talk a lot about marketing data. How to find it. How to use it. But we don’t talk a lot about the feedback loop between sales and marketing, i.e. how sales and marketing share data to close more deals.  

There are a number of feedback loops: Engineering teams have performance feedback, sales teams have quotas and productivity metrics and marketing teams have payback periods and return-on-ad-spend. You get it. 

You pour money into these teams when you find a feedback loop that works.

Marketing is generating demand? Sales is closing deals? Grow the team.

But there’s a feedback loop that doesn’t get much attention: the marketing and sales loop.  

It is both teams sharing data consistently and quickly. They move fast using mutual feedback and generate business quickly, without too much investment. This post examines strategies for B2B sales and marketing alignment, and how a feedback loop drives revenue. 

Nailing The Key Handoffs Between Marketing And Sales

If the definitions of “marketing qualified” and “sales qualified” never changed, it means one of two things: either you aren’t moving up market or you own your market. For many companies that latter isn’t true and moving up market is the mission.

This means new products, features and pricing. This means new buyers. This means what you’re selling, and the value you’re providing, is shifting. You are selling to larger companies and buyers are senior level.

Your marketing and sales team need to reevaluate lead qualifications.

Indicators for revisiting MQL and SQL definitions include: targeting new buyer segment or industry, and new pricing / discount structures. 

You won’t get it right on the first try. That’s why it’s called a feedback loop.

When it works sales can say, “We’re getting leads that have a need and are qualified to buy.”

Likewise, marketing can say, “Our messaging addresses real pain points and target buyers instantly understand our value.”

Getting feedback from sales we can understand how fast it takes to contact the lead, qualify them, and begin the sales process. Without tracking this data the sales team may waste time with deals that take too long to close, or don't close at all.

That's why it is vital to compare sales conversion rates with marketing data like visits to pricing pages, demo requests, and content downloads. This provides marketing with information they need to create content that creates demand. 

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Did We Burn Money On That Event?

This one is pretty simple. But only if your goal for events and conferences is to generate leads and close deals.

On judging events: tracking how long it takes for leads to convert to sales qualified opportunities, and opportunity to sales close is how you should compare events / conferences. 

Time to close and conversion rates are your indicators for deciding whether to sponsor the event again.

Crafting A Winning B2B Content Strategy

Content marketing is big. But the inbound strategy doesn’t work without feedback from sales.

White papers and e-books may drive traffic or leads, but marketers don’t know whether they attracted the right audience.

To understand whether audience targeting is accurate, feedback from sales development reps and revenue data must be connected.

Were leads qualified? Did the content resonate?

These same questions apply for media syndication as well. If leads aren’t converting you’ll need data, e.g. time to call and date of lead creation. Could it be that lead volumes are too high and reps cannot contact them fast enough? Or perhaps leads are received on Fridays and immediate contact isn’t possible.

To troubleshoot low conversion rate requires both teams to share data. Bizible tracks first click data, allowing marketers to understand which top-of-funnel activities are converting to revenue. It's one of many tactics marketers should implement if they are using paid search and content marketing. 

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Do Prospects Want To Talk You?

Product messaging is tricky. When it works you get people who want to tell you about their pain points. When messaging doesn’t work, “demand generation” becomes a misnomer.

You understand your prospects pain points and your product’s value. Now how do you test your messaging?

Sales decks, websites and sales documents rarely get it right the first time. While there are tactics that only sales people can leverage to close deals, it's important to understand how well your messaging creates initial interest.

Great messaging and talking points helps sales teams ease their way into the sales conversation.

To refine your messaging, find out what prospects don’t care about when hearing a pitch or value prop. 

Feed The Loop

The marketing and sales feedback loop in B2B is an essential part of a growing B2B company. While it may look different from company to company, sharing data between marketing and sales is the universal factor for growth.  

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Topics: B2B Marketing, B2B Sales

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