Aligning Marketing and Sales for Business Success

John Cheney presents his keynote on aligning sales and marketing at our event in 2022

“You come up with your ideal customer profile, you work out your routes to market, then you align your sales and marketing behind that… Sounds simple right?” Was how John Cheney, CEO of the UK’s largest independent CRM software company, Workbooks, started his keynote at marketingSHOWCASE last year. Over hundreds of technology deployments he sees more commonly than not, sales and marketing are of totally different pages, often at loggerheads with each other. How do we get sales and marketing on the same team, working efficiently and driving more revenue?

A common view

In order to avoid sales and marketing looking in different directions agree what your ideal client looks like. The industries they are in, their size and job titles for the specific contacts that will typically buy your product. It’s important to also consider the whole sales funnel from attracting customers to closing them, both from the same lense.

Define a common sales and marketing process

“In many ways, marketing and sales should be similar” says John “to make that work, you need to define your sales and marketing process together”. At this point in his presentation, John laid out a framework in which he uses to define a typical marketing and sales funnel

All Leads > Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) > Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) > BANTS > Engaged > Preffered > Negotiate > Won

John when on to explain the various steps in detail, and where marketing and sales have their respective influence. Marketing typically operate down to the gap between MQL & SQL and then sales take over, nurturing the lead with the end goal of closing a won deal. Analysing the number of opportunities that get to each stage or indeed exit the funnel at a particular stage can tell you a lot about what’s going on between the sales and marketing departments, which the Workbooks CEO goes on to give an example to illustrate.

Two companies ‘A’ and ‘B’, on the face of it, both companies get the same number of leads (100) and close the same number of deals (10) however a quick look under the bonnet can paint a very different picture. Company A closes 20% of their SQL’s, Whereas B converts at just 10%. Analysing this can present opportunities to improve throughout the sales and marketing funnel by aligning the teams.

How do we improve the funnel

Focusing on the top of the funnel, John gives advice to marketing leaders in the audience to improve this part of the process;

  • Review why leads are qualified out and not accepted by sales – “are you marketing to the wrong people?”
  • Implement a lead scoring system, to better qualify leads that should or shouldn’t be passed to sales
  • Review the definition of “sales-ready” leads
  • Track campaign ROI to see where successful leads came from and double down on that
  • Review and implement best practice

John then moves on to how sales leaders can help marketing with the top of funnel activity;

  • Refine the ‘ideal customer’ persona and review the quality and profile of the leads coming into the sales cycle
  • Provide input on content for the marketing team based on real world conversations
  • Ensure qualified-out information is recorded and shared with marketing

Technology can help

“It’s very difficult to have a common view of everything that’s going on when teams are all using different pieces of software” a good CRM can give an overview of the whole process allowing actionable insight to how and where you can improved. Whether it be guiding follow-up, analysing statistics or seeing leaks in the pipeline, a lot of this stuff simply wouldn’t be possible without modern technology.

It was great to have John speak at our London event and we want to thank him and the workbooks team for their support. Head over to their website to see how their CRM might help with aligning your sales and marketing teams.

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