Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Funnel starts with measurement and metrics because for operational excellence you need to set base lines. In terms of aligning sales and marketing this is especially true for three core reasons:
- It makes all the “play” very “real” by creating a scoreboard
- Your sales and marketing folks start functioning as a team instead of in silos because they have a shared goal
- You improve what you measure – it drives innovations
Making the Game “Real”
We have all watched kids at play. Take any 10 years-olds basketball game. Before the game everyone is laughing and having fun but as soon as that referee blows the whistle and the “game” starts that 10 year old’s effort and intensity increase. What has changed? One thing they are keeping score. The same effect occurs when you give your sales and marketing teams have a shared scoreboard. The only thing that counts at a kid’s soccer game is scoring more points than the competitor. The only thing that matters in your sales efforts will be closed deals.
Removing the Silos
Once you have given the shared goal of closed deals to your sales and marketing team everyone starts contributing to that effort with one focus – to do their part moving deals from one stage to the next. Everyone focuses on closing the next step. And like a kid’s basketball game everyone starts looking at the leading statistics. In basketball it’s going to be assists, fouls, rebounds etc. Everyone can get accolades for doing their part. In sales and marketing you will want to look at:
- Touches to Accepting Information
- Accepting Information to Marketing Qualified
- Marketing Qualified to Sales Accepted
- Sales Accepted to Sales Qualified
- Sales Qualified to Proposal
- Proposals to Close
What ends up happening when you are keeping the common scoreboard focused on closed deals more lead volume is not as important as quality of leads. More time is spent of qualifying deals before they are transitioned. Marketing focuses on pipe velocity as opposed to branding. When you are keeping score the relevant statistics all become focused on improvement towards a common goal – Closed Deals!
We also generally find that the entire sales process becomes more fun for the “Aligned Team”.
You Improve What You Measure
The end result is that you start driving efficiencies in your Pipe’s Velocity. Better Pipe Velocity Means More Time Spent Closing Deals! The team becomes more focused on improvement rather than being territorial.
Let’s take one example. We had a client that we had no problem getting deals in the pipe for. We had no problem taking them to proposal. That’s where deals stalled. The Marketing and Telesales team were doing a fantastic job with their specific responsibility of filling the pipe. But because we were all focused on the closed deals and measuring the pipe velocity the senior sales reps understood that if we got a prospect into a specific face to face meeting explaining the clients technical chops to their SVP of Supply Chain we won 75% of those deals. Marketing took that insight and created an abridged digital presentation that could be shared earlier in the sales process with the technical buyer to share with the SVP of Sales. Telesales then took it upon themselves to ensure that before we called a client Qualified our technical buyer needed to share that with his SVP of Supply Chain before we would scope the proposal. Because we were sharing it digitally we knew if the SVP of Sales consumed that content. When that content was consumed is when the enterprise sales rep and the professional service lead on the client side would take over the sale.
The end result was we lost deals earlier in the funnel because we discovered if they were a “true” fit earlier because we had that digital dialogue with the SVP of Supply Chain (the business buyer). The volume of the pipes Sales Qualified Deals decreased by 50% but the closing rate increased by 3X. This saved everyone in the food chain time and consequentially saved the client money. This equated to more revenue at less cost. Over time net result was that because we worked as a team we were actually able to invest the money saved on the backend (wasted enterprise reps time spent pursuing deals that were not going to close) and we were able to put more deals into the front end of the pipe for a net gain of 4X the revenue at the same time.
Everyone won. The client had more deals. The sales reps experienced more success and the technical buyer was given the tools they needed to save themselves countless hours scoping a solution that their company was not yet ready to buy. The beautiful long term output is that a year later some of those SVPs have now changed their mind and are circling back because they are ready to buy. We can guarantee that without detailed measurement of the pipe’s velocity these short term and long term gains would never have been realized.