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    01/02/2024 |

    A Radical New Way To Align Marketing and Sales Once and for All

    It’s shocking to me that in 2024 companies still have misaligned sales and marketing teams.

    Even more shocking is that we still have situations where marketing hates sales because they don’t follow up on marketing-generated leads and sales hates marketing because they think the leads generated are bad.

    While this might sound like a dramatic representation, some salespeople don’t follow the prescribed story and prospect experience that marketing has designed. They just keep doing their own thing. Meanwhile, marketing doesn’t ask for feedback on the quality of the leads or the outcomes from the leads generated.

    This misalignment won’t get you to your revenue goals in 2024 and it won’t lay the groundwork for the growth you expect. It’s likely going to cause you to slow your growth and miss your projected revenue goals.

    Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of this continued rift between sales and marketing is that it’s fixable. Most progressive companies have brought these two teams together into a single revenue team, and they’re achieving dramatic results.

    A Model for Alignment

    There is a new way to think about aligning marketing and sales in 2024 the revenue team. It has a single chief revenue officer (CRO) who is responsible for everything revenue related across the company.

    The only way to activate a revenue team is to give the CRO oversight into marketing, sales and customer service so that she can generate enough leads to feed the machine, turn those leads into new customer revenue, protect that revenue, retain customers and cross-sell/upsell into those customers to drive what should be easy-to-close incremental revenue.

    Another way is to start thinking about revenue in terms of a system for revenue generation, or in other words, a revenue generation system.

    This system should include active marketing for lead generation no more waiting for the phone to ring or the referrals to come in at a clip aligned with your sales targets.

    The system should include sales reps who follow up on those leads as part of a well-designed and thought-out sales process that provides an amazing experience for those people.

    Also, the system needs to provide ongoing training for both sales reps and customer service reps so that they continually improve their ability to close faster and at a higher rate while driving additional revenue from customers once they close.

    All three of these elements are critical to creating a machine or a system that produces scalable, repeatable and predictable revenue generation for your company.

    A Service-Level Agreement

    Setting up and effectively using a service-level agreement (SLA) is a crucial step in aligning marketing and sales teams within an organization. The primary purpose of an SLA is to establish a clear understanding and agreement between the two departments regarding goals, expectations and responsibilities.

    To initiate this process, both teams must engage in open communication and collaborative discussions to outline key performance indicators (KPIs), lead qualification criteria and the overall objectives they aim to achieve.

    Once the SLA is established, it serves as a guiding document that helps align marketing and sales strategies. For instance, marketing teams can commit to delivering a certain quantity of qualified leads to the sales team within a specified time frame.

    In return, the sales team commits to diligently follow up on these leads and provide feedback on their quality. This reciprocal arrangement fosters accountability on both sides, ensuring a seamless and integrated workflow.

    More advanced SLAs might include a lead value where leads have a dollar value associated with them based on propensity to close. Now marketing is tasked with delivering not a number of leads but a monthly lead value.

    Regular monitoring and analysis of SLA metrics is essential to gauge the effectiveness of the agreement. By leveraging analytics tools like HubSpot, teams can track lead conversion rates, sales cycles and other relevant metrics.

    This data-driven approach alone allows for continuous improvement, enabling teams to identify areas of strength and areas that may require adjustment. Regular reviews of SLA performance also facilitate ongoing communication between marketing and sales teams, fostering a culture of collaboration and shared success.

    In addition to quantifiable metrics, the SLA should also address qualitative aspects of the customer journey. This includes aligning on the definition of a qualified lead, understanding buyer personas and ensuring a seamless transition between marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and sales-qualified leads (SQLs). This shared understanding ensures a smooth handover from marketing to sales and that the sales team is equipped with the necessary information to engage effectively with potential customers.

    Measurement of Value Creation

    Besides the revenue generation system and the SLA, if you want to truly align marketing and sales, then understanding the value marketing creates is another way to break down the historic divide traditionally found when you look at sales and marketing.

    Since most marketing teams have never been held accountable for anything quantitative, it’s not surprising that the value of marketing is often called into question.

    But that is changing, and for most companies that run progressive marketing operations, it changed a long time ago.

    Today, value creation is easily measured and reported on.

    First, leads come from a wide variety of channels, and not all leads are created equally. Some sources provide leads that are further along in the prospect’s buyer journey, while other sources produce leads that are early in the prospect’s journey. This doesn’t make one set bad and one set good.

    If you have the right data, you can extrapolate the closed deal value from each source and then build a model that associates a lead value to each based on historical data.

    This number is important, because if for example the SLA states marketing has to deliver $100,000 of lead value each month regardless of where it comes from, a good marketing team will focus on the high-value leads.

    The installation of a revenue generation system, adding an SLA and focusing on value creation will create a new environment for everyone associated with revenue generation at your company. The result is going to be a repeatable, scalable and predictable machine that allows you to confidently forecast revenue and hit your goals every month.

    Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist headshot
    CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

    Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

    Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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