Sales and Marketing alignment has been a focal point of discussion in the B2B space for over 10 years. I spent 2 years absorbing as much knowledge about this topic as I could while at SiriusDecisions, the creators of the Demand Waterfall.
For those of you who don’t know the Demand Waterfall, it is the industry standard way for measuring the progress of a Lead as they progress through your Marketing and Sales processes to become a new customer. SiriusDecisions, via the Demand Waterfall, stresses the key handoff points between Marketing and Sales to ensure leads are managed and progress through the Waterfall in a timely fashion.
I have now joined Full Circle Insights, a company that has operationalized the measurement of your Demand Waterfall (as well as campaign attribution) inside of Salesforce. Tracking metrics on volume, velocity and conversion are great ways to understand how those key hand-offs between sales and marketing are working.
One of the most important handoffs is from Marketing Qualified Lead(MQL) to Sales Accepted Lead(SAL). And in many organizations, this is where the process breaks down. Sales complains the leads they get are junk, and marketing replies that sales wouldn’t know a good lead if it landed in their lap. One on one interactions between marketing and sales, in my experience, would, in many cases, involve a marketer calling me a TSG (Typical Sales Guy), which is marketing code for Neanderthal.
But now I am working at Full Circle Insights. And while measurement is what matters most to us, I realized a key difference between my short time here and my time in other organizations. At Full Circle Insights, the Marketing and Sales departments are in the same area. Sure, there may be a few desks between us, but it’s the same floor, and there are no doors separating us. This leads to lots of cross pollination of ideas and working together more closely. We even let marketing use the main conference room, which is located in the sales bullpen.
To make this relationship even stronger, every Tuesday we have happy hour together and every Wednesday we have lunch together.
This got me to thinking. Full Circle Response Management allows us to track our funnel conversion rates with date stamps, for true funnel visibility, within Salesforce. This is important because I do not have access to our Marketing Automation Platform.
With this data, one could look at a Funnel Conversion Report to see what dates have the highest number for SAL conversions. It then takes a little work to back into the day of the week. Within this report, I chose a small date range to work with, 1 month. Drilling down into the report, I was able to sort by SAL Date to see when it converted. What do you think I found? Did Tuesday and Wednesday have higher conversion rates? As a matter of fact, they did, though not by much. But the fact that we all sit in the same area may affect those results as well.
So here is my challenge: If you are struggling with sales and marketing alignment and MQL to SAL conversion rates, think about 2 things. #1. Do you interact with your peers across the “wall” on a regular basis? Or are you separated by physical barriers, i.e. work on different floors? If this is case the case, then try #2, set up a weekly social event between your organizations. My hypothesis is this can foster a better working relationship between all of sales and marketing, and not just management. And would that lead to a better working relationship, resulting in better conversion rates.
We’d love to hear the results if you are daring enough to spend time with your peers on something other than Slack. Or watch the Stuck in the Middle: Strategies for Turbocharging Your Funnel webinar which explains how we think about the sales to marketing handoff.
I would call that Change We Can Believe In.
Richard was previously responsible for the ISV Partner relationship between Full Circle Insights and Salesforce.com. Prior to joining Full Circle Insights, Richard worked at SiriusDecisions, providing B2B marketing and sales leaders with the knowledge they needed to succeed. Previously Richard spent time as a Culinary Pro and also on Wall Street. Richard holds a BBA in Finance from The George Washington University and a Culinary Degree from the Cordon Bleu.