Lead Generation is fundamental to marketing performanceThe purpose of the marketing demand generation group(s) is to:
- Generate many new high quality leads
- Nurturing the in-house database to drive more opportunities out of it sooner
- Increase the velocity of opportunities in the funnel
- Maintain the loyalty of the installed base
- Marketing Qualified Leads
- Assets (collateral, Website)
- Lead nurturing programs
- Brand equity (awareness, attributes, loyalty, perceived quality)
- Channel training (competitive info, product info, target market info)
- Partner relationships
Whilst the relative priority of these things may vary from firm to firm, most sales folks would put leads at the top of the list. The 2009 CSO report indicates that Sales generate 52% of their own leads ( a significant increase in the past few years) and that marketing contributes just 24% (a significant decrease). If you want to align marketing and sales, first and foremost measure your marketing team on that number. If you are producing lots of high quality leads for Sales, many of your other weaknesses can be overlooked. If you are failing to produce leads, or nurture leads into opportunities, the chasm from a sales perspective is that marketing does not understand what Sales needs - warm qualified leads.
Marketing has a finite budget to spend on these 6 areas. It behooves the VP of marketing to win agreement with the Sales peers on the relative importance of these marketing deliverables in the coming year. Sales and marketing alignment starts at the top. But this is only half of the bridge over the chasm.
What does Sales need to deliver to Marketing?Marketing wants:
- Follow up to all marketing qualified leads
- A feedback mechanism that gives a measure on where the best and worst leads are coming from
- Support and attendance at prospect events and training
- Persistence with regard to prospects who are not quite ready to buy
- Adherence to process
- Clean and complete contact and account data in the CRM
- Behavior that aligns with the brand
- Accurate forecasts
Sales is arguably the most accountable organization in a company. Where else are up to half of the team turned over every year if they don't meet their goals? Marketing in B2B companies has probably been the least accountable, with the exception that the VP of marketing gets ejected after 22 months. My point is this. Don't expect what you don't inspect. Sales is very accountable because we have put systems in place to measure everything they do as it relates to closing business. Following up on marketing leads, quality and completeness of the data in CRM, accurate forecasting are important Sales metrics too and need more scrutiny from Sales management.
On the marketing side, Marketing Automation provides the measurability tools required to measure net new leads, lead quality, asset quality and usage, and efficacy of lead nurturing. So start measuring them, and holding marketing accountable for their deliverables to Sales. The facts will crush the finger pointers.