Friday, February 5, 2010

Sharing the Love This Valentine's Day


Sending flowers to your Sales Department is probably not something you’ve thought of this Valentine’s Day, but why not take a minute to reflect on how to make this special relationship even better.


Step 1: Identify Where the Relationship is Now

Just Dating – Sales and Marketing have a casual, non-committed relationship. Each helps the other when they get a request, otherwise both work independently.

Engaged – Sales and Marketing have made a commitment to work together in meeting each other’s needs and are exploring/testing solutions.

Blissfully Married – Sales and Marketing are successful in meeting each other’s needs on a continual basis. Marketing is continually generating highly qualified sales leads and sales is both accepting and actively working those leads.

Separated – Sales and Marketing simply ignore each other, except in meetings, where Sales blames marketing for sending over too many junk leads and Marketing blames sales for ignoring all but the best cherry picked leads.

Divorced – Sales and Marketing won’t set foot in the same room together.

Step 2: Identify and meet each other’s needs to help repair or enhance the relationship:

Typical Sales Needs:

More qualified leads
This can be accomplished by nurturing and scoring not ready to buy leads until they show strong buying signals

A pecking order of who to call first
Lead scoring manages this by providing a combined lead rating based on both implicit and explicit criteria

Better insight into lead activity
Marketing Automation tools such as Eloqua provide excellent lead activity reports that identify online activities including email click thru, web site visits by page, form submissions, asset downloads, etc. This provides incredible insight into what solution(s) the lead is most interested in.

Typical Marketing Needs:

Sales accepts the leads marketing has spent time nurturing
If not-ready-to-buy leads are nurtured, chances are sales will happily except a significant portion of them. Still, there are times when even highly scored leads will get rejected (no budget for instance). Marketing needs a process by which sales enters these rejected leads into a re-nurturing program – This is typically a link in CRM that adds rejected leads into a special re-nurturing campaign, usually driven by marketing where the emails appear to have come from the sales rep.

Plug all leaks in the sales funnel
Sales will need to fulfill on the internal processes that marketing has established to plug all funnel leaks. To learn more about how to do this, read my recent blog post on Funnel Goo.

Collaborate on continual adjustments of nurturing and scoring efforts
Marketing needs the input of Sales on how well the nurturing/scoring programs are performing. Are leads being scored too high? Too low? Is nurturing doing its job in building the relationship? A continual review of all scored/nurtured leads is essential, including the adoption of new processes. For instance there are typically certain lead status fields in CRM that marketing needs sales to keep up to date in order for Marketing to measure ROI and other KPIs.

Summary

The best relationships are those where everyone wins. The needs of each are continuously being met by the other.

It’s not that most companies aren’t striving for this, it’s just that until recently there haven’t been many of the tools which are now currently available to actually meet these needs.

Hmmm, maybe we should send flowers to all those who keep our marketing automation system running too.

Updated 5-8-12
Visit my brand new website and learn more about lead scoring best practices

Steve Kellogg

-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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