Brian Carroll

Sales and marketing alignment: tips for getting it right with lead generation

According to the 2008 Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study, only 37% of respondents agreed that their sales and marketing organizations are aligned in what their customers want and need. I discussed this disconnect with Bill Golder in the February issue of Sales & Marketing Management. You can check out the interview online: Chronicles of a Sales Leader: The Lack of Sales and Marketing Alignment in Organizations Today.

I firmly believe that organizations that perform match readiness of the buyer with expectations of their sales team. The unrealized potential can be likened to the batteries in a flashlight. If the batteries aren't inserted in the right direction, or are otherwise out of proper contact, their power is unusable. My experience confirms that this communication breakdown affects nine out of ten companies. Bill asked me what advice I would give these organizations that are struggling with alignment. Here are the five tips I shared with him:

1. Sales and Marketing must collaborate on defining leads and marketing objectives. You can make a huge impact by focusing first, on creating an Ideal Customer Profile (company-wide, for each product, service or solution). Then, create the Universal Lead Definition of a "sales-ready lead." Finally, connect the marketing/sales process to customer's buying process.
2. What gets measured gets done. Connect sales and marketing metrics together.
3. Create relevant content for each stage of the customer buying cycle.
4. Focus on the data points you REALLY need to measure in your CRM.
5. Clarify your value proposition now! Does your sales team have sales-ready messaging?

In developing a lead generation program, it is incumbent on marketers to view the sales team as the customer. It's no different than directing a consulting firm project where the client is involved in each stage of the project. The sales team should become so integrated that it has program ownership just like everyone else.

There’s a lot more good info discussed in this interview so be sure to read the full article here. Thanks to Bill and SMM for giving the opportunity to share.

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Lead Management, Leadership, Marketing Strategy, ROI Measurement, Sales



  1. | #1

    Great Post, Brian. As a demand generation company, our customers are abviously trying to achieve this very thing. Your number one tip is right on. Until sales and marketing agree on what is a good or “sales-ready” lead, not much progress can be made. Once that is established, a demand generation solution can begin transforming the sales and marketing process. Our blog offers tips and best practices using a demand generation solution effectively to boost revenue and decrease sales cycles. Please feel free to check us out, http://blog.manticoretechnology.com/themarketingfortunecookie/2009/01/five-tips-for-effective-lead-scoring.html.

  2. | #2

    Brian:

    Thanks for the post. Coordinating sales and marketing is even harder in the professions where:

    1) there is often no dedicated sales force, the partners doing most of the selling.

    2) the distinction between sales and marketing is unclear. The word, “sales,” is often seen as too commercial for the professionals’ tastes, so they use “markting” as a euphemism for it, further compounding the confusion.

    3) sales management isn’t a recognized function.

    Do you have any advice for increasing coordination in this environment.

    Best regards,

    Ford Harding

  3. | #3

    Brian,

    I appreciate the advice. I just found your blog and I hope to get a lot out of it. I just made a career move to sales and it’s very exciting. I work for a small company and hope to implement some of your expertise.

    Best,

    Ben S.
    Sales Associate
    Referral Key
    http://www.referralkey.com

  4. | #4

    It is depending to us, before jumping to battlefield make sincere research and take action after it.Don’t think too much, making mistake is normal then fix it to success.Great post

  5. | #5

    Quiet interesting article. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing the information. I totally agree with u and if things are followed in this manner its really going to work and going to prove beneficial.

  6. | #6

    Good article Brian!

    Love the stuff about sales ready leads. It’s amazing how many companies turn over “not ready for sales” leads to the sales team. This sets marketing up for failure.

    Unfortunately the sales and marketing alignment problem is far to common. I also talk a lot about this issue in my blog post called the “The Inbound Marketing 2.0 Manifesto”. http://bit.ly/cl21LM

    The good news is the world of marketing is changing fast and Inbound Marketing and marketing automation can provide metrics that can foster better alignment.

    Derek
    CEO
    DMZ Interactive

  7. | #7

    Brian, thanks for the summary on achieving sales and marketing alignment. I like what you said about marketing viewing “the sales team as the customer”. I also think sales and marketers should concentrate more on how their prospects buy vs how sales and marketers sell. Times are changing with the availability of resources and content on a whim via the web. Buyers are doing their research online first.

  1. | #1