According to Aberdeen Group, organizations with strong marketing and sales alignment increase organization quote attainment at a 97% higher rate, year over year. The conclusion of their research is that organisations with alignment are ‘just plain better’.
Alignment can mean many things, but at its root, the objective is to ensure sales and marketing are working towards clear, common overall goals.
And here lies a source of friction. While both teams share common goals at the company level, their KPI ‘s are usually quite different.
Another source of friction is marketing may not be clearly able to see their contribution to sales, and vice versa. Leads are routed to salespeople, and marketing doesn’t have visibility into what happens after that.
Even in small tightly knit teams there can be misunderstandings about the handoffs and workflows between sales and marketing. Are leads being handed off at the right time? Did sales followed up in the best way?
The more technologies and systems that are used to generate and convert prospects to customers, the more room for error. A prospect can slip through the gaps leading one team to blame the other.
What is the solution? How can you help your marketing and sales work perfectly in synch? How can everyone gain visibility into goals and work together to reach them?
There’s one specific tool we recommend. It’s called the lead management dashboard.
Let’s take a look at why it is so effective.
Why the lead management dashboard?
A lead management dashboard breaks barriers and unites the goals of two different groups. The dashboard is the glue between sales and marketing.
- It clearly shows specific targets and progress towards overall goals
- It defines the exact meeting point between the two functions on their way to a common goal
- It doesn’t leave room for misunderstanding because it contains facts about how each team is helping the other based on real data
- It is practical, easy to implement, and makes non-quantifiable initiatives like improving sales-marketing communications – quantifiable
Bond building experiences around goals
The dashboard is the hand-off where marketing says ‘Hi, this person is ready to hear from you!” and sales says “Great, I will follow up!”
For marketing, every qualified lead is automatically added to the dashboard – according to your company’s own definition of qualified. You can have one or several lead categories. The most important leads for this dashboard are are ‘hot’ leads that deserve prompt follow up by sales.
Once added to the dashboard, marketing can follow leads as they move from stage to stage. Has initial contact been done? Did it result in a sale? How much was it worth?
After working so hard to get leads, it is thrilling to see how they develop, and then celebrate the win with sales colleagues. Talk about bonding!
From the sales side, the contribution of marketing is clear. How many leads have we received? How many were we able to close? How much effort was required? The dashboard is a great way to build team spirit.
As salespeople often have long to-do-lists and too little time, a lead management dashboard makes it easier to prioritize efforts.
When following up a hot lead is one of many tasks on the to-do-list, it may not get the attention it deserves – or it can get accidently overlooked.
Dashboards keep leads top of mind. Depending on your business, this can translate into big value.
Has marketing a monthly goal for the number of ‘hot’ leads? Add the goal to the dashboards and send sales a notification every time a hot lead comes in.
If you normally celebrate a sale, consider also celebrating a hot lead. Both functions benefits from joint responsibility that leads to joint achievement.
We recently created our own lead dashboard for a specific marketing activity. Every time someone filled in a request form, the form generated a support ticket in SuperOffce.
The dashboard shows tickets coming in and the total number of tickets generated versus goals. A column for status, showed where tickets are in the follow-up process and who ‘owns’ the request.
We can also track how fast leads move from phase to phase or alert someone if follow-up doesn’t happen as quickly as agreed. For example, initial contact within 3 hours after request has been submitted.
Because several systems and people are working together to attract and respond to requests, it’s reassuring to see on dashboards that every piece is working as it should. It’s also easier to fix errors if it isn’t.
Improved strategy and conversions
Once you have started using dashboards, expect healthy discussions about how leads are captured, qualified and followed up. Differences in opinion about what happens at various stages in the marketing-sales funnel, will come to light. They will also be easier to sort out because discussions are based on hard facts, rather than emotions.
When teams learn more about each other and their customers, they are better able to deliver quality buyer and customer experiences.
We’d love to hear your experience managing marketing and sales. Leave a comment.
To set up your lead dashboard, contact us.