As someone who loves to cook, today I am reprising a popular recipe – bringing back a post from the recent past that is ever more relevant today. It’s a tried-and-true concoction that can help you serve up a successful lead generation program.
I marvel at the fact that CEOs continue to be disappointed by their marketing outcomes. In fact, 70 percent cite that marketing isn’t delivering for them as expected. Art Saxby, Chief Outsiders CEO, has expertly covered the difference between Sales and Marketing in his blog. I suggest you read it to make sure you have a baseline of understanding, and greater clarity, about the distinction between the two disciplines.
My standout recipe I’m sharing today is a way to get marketing and sales to be in perfect harmony, supporting customer success and revenue growth objectives. To achieve this requires collaboration and agreement on several definitions, targets and metrics—and leadership from the CEO. Getting it right can mean the difference between a Michelin Star and banishment to the kitchen of a greasy spoon!
At the foundation of this recipe is marketing and sales leader dialogue, as well as agreement of what constitutes the difference between success and failure. In the simplest terms, marketing needs to be seamlessly filling the top part of any sales funnel, while sales needs to be sifting through what comes out the bottom, then executing on follow-up engagement.
You’ve spent considerable time and energy to build your sales team. The last thing you want your highly-paid direct salespeople doing is cold calling on random leads. You need them engaged in account strategy, and in developing and closing opportunities with as much face-to-face time with prospects as possible.
To drive sales growth strategies and direct sales productivity, we need marketing leadership to deliver a consistent flow of “qualified” leads to the sales force. Much has been written about lead quality, but I think it really comes down to getting a specific agreement between the sales and marketing leaders -- and it doesn’t hurt to get buy-in from their sales teams. Business cards dropped off in a fishbowl at a trade show to earn a chance at a prize DOES NOT constitute qualified sales leads.
To optimize resources and have each person contributing efficiently to building a strong sales pipeline, a benchmarked lead should have the following explicit definitions documented and agreed upon between the two teams:
In today’s on-demand world, buyers expect timely follow up -- or they move on. Marketing must insist that the sales organization be held to similar standards on their lead engagement and sales activities for both parties to win. If marketing is going to deliver fewer but more highly qualified leads, then sales needs to treat them like gold and execute a disciplined follow-up sequence of activities.
Best practices for sales team follow-up begins with a pre-call plan that involves the following:
Marketing and sales leaders need to meet at least monthly to review lead quality and lead status, holding each other accountable for executing the agreed upon activities/deliverables. Like cooking, none of this is hard to do. It takes focus and precise execution. Then, simply place it in a 400-degree oven for 90 days, and you’ll soon be enjoying the fruits of a delicious pipeline.
Wondering how to get this recipe started? Are you in need of executive sales or marketing leadership? Chief Outsiders, a leader in fractional executives, has rolled out a new service designed to expedite your ability to achieve sales and marketing alignment -- the fractional chief sales officer, or Fractional CSO. Our CSOs can help you align your sales and marketing efforts, build distinct strategies, and instill measurement into the corporate culture.
Contact us today to learn more!