• LATEST
  • inbound marketing
  • Marketing Strategy
  • MORE TOPICS

Shocking New Data Shows Marketing And Sales Alignment Powers Revenue Growth

Fewer Than 25% Of People Report Exceeding Their Revenue Goals, And The People Who Are Missing Their Revenue Goals Don’t Know Why

Marketing and sales alignmentIn a recent HubSpot study, 23% of people reported they were exceeding their revenue goals. And of those not exceeding their goals, a whopping 74% said they did not know the number of visitors, leads, MQLs or sales opportunities they needed to hit their targets.

This data is not surprising, but its disappointing that even with all of the new tools, analytics, software and dashboards available, a huge number of people still don’t know how to drive the right metrics at the right times to produce the right results.

What this signals to me is that people still don’t know what to do! And they don’t know what to do because, even with all of these tools, they aren’t clear on how to prioritize, how to plan and how to test what they’re doing.

Want to fix this at your company? Consider this set of action steps.

Know Your Numbers

You have to know your numbers. If you want to perform, you have to know your numbers. Just like if you’re on a diet, driving a car or trying to lower your blood pressure, you have to know where you are today to know how you’re doing tomorrow.

Its not hard to know your basic sales and marketing numbers. Even if you don’t have fancy software tools, almost everyone has some type of CRM system and Excel. You can even consider getting Google Analytics, which is 100% free and any webmaster can add to your site with ease.

Once you get your hands on even basic data, you can start to build your current funnel metrics, which would give you insights into how you’re doing and where the weak spots might be.

Match Your Current Numbers With The Numbers You Need

Sales and marketing metricsNow its going to get a little trickier, because the next step is to create the required model to hit your revenue goals. With all of these people missing their goals, it’s probably because their goals are too aggressive given their current state and their level of investment in sales and marketing. All of these variables have to work together.

This is also going to require you to build a model (typically in Excel) that represents each of the stages of your prospects journey with you. Notice that I didn’t say funnel, because we’re strategically moving away from the concept of the funnel and toward a more organic flow through the buyer journey. Regardless, you have stages and conversion rates at each stage, and that’s what you need to know to build your desired buyer journey model.

You can use some standard classifications and vocabulary to describe contacts as they move through a marketing and sales cycle with your company  website visitor, inquiry or new contact, marketing-qualified lead, sales-qualified lead, sales opportunity and then ultimately a new customer. If you applied conversion rates to each classification, you’d be in great shape and you’d have an idea of how many of each you need every month to hit your revenue goals.

This alone moves you into the top 10% of most marketers and sales pros. This is something we do with every prospect, so if its something you’d like to see for your company, let us know by scheduling time with us to work on it together. 

Identify The Gaps (In Performance And Expertise)

Once you see on paper your current state and your desired state next to each other, you immediately see the gaps. You might not have nearly enough visitors to your website, or you might be closing sales opportunities at an alarmingly low rate. You might notice that hardly any marketing-qualified lead are converting into sales-qualified leads, which shows you’re attracting the wrong types of people to your website.

Performance gaps are not the only insights uncovered in this type of review. Expertise gaps are also uncovered. Your team might not have the ability to improve that close rate, increase the number of new contacts from website visitor traffic or improve the flow of opportunities once leads are handed off to sales.

Identifying the performance and the expertise gaps helps you know where to focus energy, time and money to drive up the performance of both your marketing and your sales teams.

Look At Revenue Strategy (Marketing And Sales)

Revenue Growth StrategyWe have to back up just a bit and talk about strategy. Why? First, this is almost always where some of the challenges lie when looking at revenue failures. For example, you might be taking to the wrong people.

You might be sending the wrong message to the right people. You might be sending the right message to the right people but not in the right way or through the right channel. You might be sending the same message as your competitors, making it difficult for your prospects to decide who to hire.

You might have misalignment between sales and marketing, meaning what marketing is saying could be a little different than what sales is saying. Or sales might not be giving prospects the exact experience they need to say yes to you in short order.

A long checklist is associated with revenue strategy, and few companies check all of the boxes. It’s going to be worthwhile to go through this exercise and make sure everything is aligned, consistent and ready for prime time.

Apply The New Buyer Journey Model To Your Business

This is critical, and its new thinking that you should be aware of. The old gravity-based funnel – where people start at the top of the funnel, move down into the middle of the funnel and out the bottom of the funnel – is no longer an accurate representation of how people buy.

No single force is influencing the buyer to make a decision. Instead, hundreds of forces are influencing their decision-making at seven major milestones along the way. Each of those decision points is more like a cyclone or whirlwind.

The stages are chaotic and filled with information from a wide variety of sources all influencing your buyers. You have to understand this to build in the marketing touch points needed to proactively influence your buyers better than your competitors and to cut through all the market noise.

Here is an article on the new Cyclonic Buyer Journey.TM

Now Apply The Tactics

Once you have this, you can start looking at the tactics required to help you influence their journey, cut through the noise and create the ultimate buying experience for your prospects. This trinity is the only way you’ll find marketing and sales performance in today’s information overloaded world.

The tactics are actually quite easy to identify. Its like the tools in the plumber’s tool kit. You might not know how to fix the toilet, but you know you need a plunger, snake, wrench and screwdriver. Everyone knows you need a website, but what you might not know is you need the best website in your industry. “Best” is defined as the one that provides the greatest experience, is the easiest to navigate, offers the most educational content and tells the best stories in 10 seconds or less.

Everyone knows they need content, email, social media promotions and events. Everyone knows they need to be found on search, get great reviews, build lead nurturing campaigns, write case studies and have customers who provide references. More than 50 individual sales and marketing tactics could be deployed to drive up the numbers we talked about earlier. Almost everyone can identify the tactics. Choosing which ones to use, determining how to use them and deciding how to deploy them is the subject of the next section.

Set Up A Planning, Prioritization And Testing Methodology

Revenue Strategy and PlanningAlmost no one does everything at the same time. First, its incredibly expensive, and we’ve met very few CEOs with an unlimited budget for both sales and marketing. Next, its already complicated, and executing every possible tactic simultaneously requires massive coordination, a huge team and a lot of money. Finally, its just not necessary. It would be like flying commercial to work. Driving 15 minutes is just fine. It achieves the goal perfectly.

To configure the perfect plan that helps you achieve your specific goals, start with your numbers and where you need those numbers to be. Need more lift at the beginning of the process (meaning you need more new visitors to come to your site)? You’ll need to disrupt more potential prospects status quo and drive new connections and new engaged contacts with account-based marketing (ABM).

If your sales execution is weak, you might want to back-load the program with tactics like sales process redesign, lead scoring, email template development, content for sales, CRM training and sales executional upgrades like sales training, sales coaching and sales leadership support.

It might make the most sense to look at the entire process and try to add value at each stage in the buyer journey, including marketing and sales execution. This option and the three options above highlight why this is so hard. Where do you start and why? Planning and strategy can answer some of those questions.

But it gets worse. You can’t do a 12-month marketing plan or a 12-month sales plan anymore, because it’s a waste of time. Even when I used to do annual marketing plans (20 years ago), I rarely looked at the plan after it was done, and no one ever asked me about it once the plan was approved. Today, its even faster. What you thought was going to work last month might prove to be a dismal failure this month. You have to be agile and flexible enough to respond to the data and make adjustments on the fly.

To do this, you need a prioritization methodology to help you know what to work on, when to work on it and why. Part of this approach includes being able to run tests and experiments to see quickly what adjustments and optimization tactics are going to produce results. Most of these experiments are failures, which isn’t bad. Its actually good. Knowing what not to do is key. But you have to run experiments, learn from them and adapt quickly.

Teaching your team members prioritization and testing techniques when they’ve never done them before is tough and takes time. Using agencies that bring these methodologies to your company is a faster way to adapt your sales and marketing to today’s pace and requirements.

Now Look At Tools And Tech

We haven’t even talked about tools, technology and software yet. But the complexity we’re exploring here lends itself to getting help from software. Automating reoccurring tasks like publishing, promoting and nurturing leads gets easier. Getting quick access to analytics makes everything we’ve been talking about much easier to execute. If you know what works and what doesn’t work as well, prioritization and optimization become much more effective and easier to execute.

A ton of software options today are available, and its easy to get overwhelmed. As we’ve suggested before, get your requirements and priorities together before you start doing demos. Try to focus the software companies on your specific issues and make them show you how their product would help you. If you’re using something now and you love it, keep it. If you’re using something now and you hate it or are ambivalent about, be open to something that might do more or work better. If you’re not using anything now, be open to moving to software that will help you improve your results.

Track KPIs And Report Progress

You’ve already taken a big step in understanding your numbers. Now you’re going to set goals and work toward achieving them. Regular reviewing the numbers is key. Some data you should be tracking daily, like site visitors, site-wide conversion rate and leads. Some data you should be tracking weekly, like search data, page performance data and offer data. Some data you should be looking at monthly, like pipeline value, pipeline velocity, close rates, sales conversion rates, lead quality and revenue vs. target.

Once you get the reports and rhythms associated with a more scientific approach to sales and marketing, you’ll settle into a more structured conversation that is almost always based on quantitative data, not qualitative data. This is going to put you in a much better position to ask the right questions, make better and more informed decisions, and identify areas that need the most attention.

You don’t have to feel bad or embarrassed. Look, 77% of the people surveyed said they missed their revenue goals. This makes it an epidemic in my book. Most people are just like you. If you knew what you were doing and if you knew how to hit your revenue goals, you’d wouldn’t be reading this blog, you’d be writing it. The key takeaway is that in this article, we’ve given you the schematic for acting so that you never have to miss your revenue goals again.

In the survey, 74% of people said they didn’t even know what their numbers were. You have no chance of improving your numbers if you don’t know what they are right now. This is the easiest part of the challenge. In three days, we can get you up on a marketing automation platform like HubSpot, and right from your smartphone you can see your website visitor numbers, site-wide conversion rate and the number of new leads generated.

Getting you to know your numbers is an easy situation to fix. It’s also easy to help you understand what the numbers should be if you want to hit your revenue goals. The number of people who know what their numbers should be needs to be closer to 90%. This means we, as agencies, need to do a much better job at helping clients know these important numbers.

Unfortunately, the “what do we do?” question is a little harder to answer. Before we get to that answer, we clearly have a lot of ground to cover just getting you set up to ask that question. But we understand this is a monumental task. Today’s revenue generation includes so many moving parts, so many technologies and a new understanding of how buyers purchase products and services in today’s information overloaded world. Getting a grasp on your numbers is going to give you a new perspective on what to do and how to do it. Make that your starting point. 

Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned Through Experience, Methodology And Insights!

Posted By Author 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.

COMMENTS (0)