Have you ever heard sales blame marketing for bad leads and marketing blame sales for not acting on the leads they give? Those are common complaints from both functions. And there are usually aspects of both sides of the coin that are accurate. In our last blog, you hopefully learned from the examples of two businesses that realigned certain responsibilities in a way that created greater cross-functional accountability for sales.
Despite the steps of forward-thinking organizations, many sales professionals still feel they are shouldering a disproportionate share of the lead-generation load these days. According to a survey of chief sales officers, it was believed that sales was responsible for nearly 50 percent of leads, while they viewed marketing as contributing just 20 percent of prospects into the sales funnel. (The balance, it is said, are coming from referrals and customer service personnel). Similarly, marketers feel strongly that they work hard to deliver leads to a sales organization that does not always act on the leads nor report on actual successes from the leads generated.
Despite this fractured world view, you, as CEO, can act to stop this functional debate in its tracks, with two very straightforward actions:
1. In no uncertain terms, make it clear to both functional leads, together, that you will not accept the situation. Period. Insist that your head of sales and marketing come together to create the best lead process for the organization. Ensure they understand that they are responsible for working this out — not you. Don’t show favoritism to either function. Don’t allow side-bar conversations. Make them own it together.
2. Insist on three key reports, with supporting insights:
a. Lead production information from marketing. This should include lead sources, cost of leads, and metrics on the number and quality of leads handed over to sales. This should, at minimum, be completed on a monthly basis.
b. Sales performance against leads. This should track each group of leads by lead source and other key attributes. Outcomes should be identified, and clear feedback delivered to marketing, so that positive lead sources are optimized while poor performing campaigns are axed. This report also should be part of a monthly cadence.
c. End-to-end ROI analysis. Track and report revenues by lead source while providing marketing with the information necessary to compare revenues generated to expenses. This set of reporting can be a bit more challenging, since salespeople tend to avoid inputting the key information necessary for tracking, and marketing tends to struggle with this level of reporting for various reasons (visibility, comprehension, technology stack, etc.). It may take longer to actually create this reporting, but you absolutely need it to decide what level of investment in marketing (and sales) actually makes sense.
Amazing things can happen when the two leaders of sales and marketing understand that the ball is 100 percent in their court.
In our next blog, we’ll look at the appropriate way to support your sales machine to set your company up for success.