Sometimes I say to myself, “Our work is never done, and that is half the fun!” Those of us in marketing or sales roles must go beyond our immediate responsibilities to qualify more than just sales ready leads. No matter how many previous successes we produce, we must also evaluate our own individual performances. Naturally, the objectives of those in marketing roles differ somewhat from those of their sales counterparts, but the activities of the two groups are intricately co-dependent. Given this, it’s surprising that their end goals are so frequently misaligned.
Marketing goals in terms of lead generation are commonly distilled down to quantity over quality, making measurement of these teams a numbers game. However, anyone who has ever worked on the sales side will attest to how frustrating a bulk b2b lead generation campaign can become. On the other hand, our sales teams are analyzed (and scrutinized when the going gets tough) against measures like realized sales and closed deals, which are directly related to revenue. While both of these are numbers-based metrics, sales professionals live much closer to the ebb and flow of profit.
Given the way sales teams are usually evaluated, when they receive an overwhelming number of unqualified leads from marketing activities, it is of limited value to them. That detracts from the potential power of a skilled sales team. It dilutes their lead tracker efforts and distracts them from nurturing qualified, high-quality sales ready leads or even following up on the leads provided by marketing.
While marketing and sales teams might have different objectives, they share a mutual goal of increasing revenue. In order to be effective, they must be well-aligned. In a survey conducted by Gatepoint Research in September 2022, marketers were asked to characterize their relationship with sales. The responses showed that, for the most part, the relationship between marketers and sales is pretty good, as 29% define it as a solid partnership, and half declare it works “most of the time.” But given how important it is for these teams to support one another to generate revenue, these numbers could (and should) be much better. I suggest giving your marketing and sales teams a forum in which to align, and everyone will be happier for it – especially your CEO and CFO.
Marketers must not only seek alignment with sales but also get on board with making their lead gen metrics more qualitative. If this sounds reminiscent of the fundamentals of content and intent marketing, that’s because it is, and it’s worth a reminder. Content marketing and intent marketing, when executed correctly, will result in target account-based marketing tactics that can be measured through metrics that measure a customer’s true engagement. Engagement metrics are specific, measurable activities from your customers such as completing a task, revisiting a website or inviting team members to connect. Engagement metrics differ from program to program and are usually more sophisticated than traditional metrics, but they indicate commitment levels within otherwise unqualified leads.
Sales teams crave high-quality leads and one of the best ways to deliver them is by generating traffic using engaging, strategically aligned content. This will result in capturing and retaining the attention of the best leads, the ones most likely to buy your services or products. By designing our marketing strategy to qualify leads higher up in the sales funnel, marketers can provide a first layer of screening and opportunity identification to make the most of the organization’s resources and optimize the revenue stream.