Sales & marketing: Avoiding the break-up

Bride & groom wedding cake figurines

The divide between sales and marketing teams can pose a major obstacle to lead generation. As is often the case in unhappy marriages, a breakdown in communication is often to blame with the two parties unable to reconcile the differences in their priorities and metrics. In many cases they’re talking different languages, add to that a lack of clarity and you have the perfect recipe for the inevitable mistrust and finger-pointing that ensues…and a relationship beyond repair. So, what can be done to get things back on track and lay the foundations for a loving, long lasting union? Well, a step change in marketing methodology can help:

To have and to hold

Buyer behaviour has changed and so it’s time to adapt, sales and marketing teams have the opportunity to change and integrate their approach. What Forrester describe as the new interaction model of ‘need-match-engage’ demands that sales and marketing teams work more closely together to respond effectively when buyers initiate interactions, engaging them with the brand when they are researching suppliers with a view to converting this initial interest into a warm lead. This is where inbound marketing can help.

From this day forward

Inbound marketing offers many opportunities for sales and marketing teams to work closely together from the off, day in day out. For example, who better for the marketing team to speak to when developing buyer personas than the sales team. In speaking to prospects on a daily basis, sales teams can provide invaluable intelligence to build profiles, understand ‘pain points’ and identify marketing preferences. Further, this can be invaluable in informing keyword research and developing engaging content.

For better, for worse

When it comes to leads, quality should always win out over quantity. Five great leads or 100 rubbish ones? It’s your choice but through techniques such as lead nurturing, the inbound marketing methodology focuses on moving prospects carefully through the sales funnel and delivering results in less time than a sales team can achieve through chasing tepid, low converting leads.

For richer, for poorer

Inbound marketing facilitates greater transparency between sales and marketing teams. For example, in producing sales ready leads, a more formal handoff can be established. This could extend to an SLA which defines expectations and sets out the responsibilities for everyone involved (Let’s call it the Pre nup) e.g. marketing get a target volume of warm leads to be generated each month whilst this also sets out a plan for sales on how to follow up those leads. And the benefit? According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing, the average cost per lead for companies with such a process in place generate leads at around 50% of the cost of those that don’t.

In sickness and in health

Is your database in good health? Aspects of inbound such as marketing automation help to deliver quality leads more efficiently and will also force an honest assessment of existing data. Again, it’s another opportunity for sales and marketing to work together to lay down the criteria for where the business should be focussing its attention. This might sound painful but happier times are around the corner in the form of a better bottom line.

Until death do us part

Right, this is getting ridiculous but hopefully I’ve made my point. An inbound marketing methodology can get sales and marketing teams working much more effectively together through the common aims of achieving high visibility for the brand, engaging prospects, generating leads and driving sales.

You may now kiss the bride

OK, I’ll stop now.

By Neil Perrott

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