Achieving the Coveted Marketing and Sales Handshake

 In B2B Marketing, B2B Sales

What does it take to capture and close higher quality leads? It’s a question that takes center stage for every B2B enterprise, and the answer lies in the alignment of sales and marketing teams. Marketing has traditionally been viewed as a strictly “pre-sales” discipline—kept separate and silo-ed from the majority of the sales process. When dealing with slower-to-close deals, as is the case within B2B, integration between sales and marketing is key. This especially holds true in light of the fact that 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales (Marketing Sherpa), primarily due to lack of lead nurturing—and we would argue, nurturing the wrong leads.

Advances in technology, specifically predictive modeling and big data aggregation, have the potential to take marketing-sales engagement processes from basic to even better. Here are a few steps to start generating higher conversion rates through better alignment of marketing and sales.

The Basics

Ensure all parties understand lead scoring

  • Ensure that everyone on both teams understand the methodologies behind what is considered a qualified lead.
  • This way, marketing has a sense of what types of prospects will ultimately lead to a close, and spend more of their precious time nurturing those.

Even Better

…and get smarter about how you’re scoring

  • Using more (and the right kind of) data to score an account’s propensity to buy means an even higher-qualified lead.
  • Descriptive data allows you to score leads based on profile attributes and heuristics, but doesn’t necessarily allow you to find buyers who are ready to buy now. Go beyond company profile and job title and use behavioral data to identify out who’s ready to buy now.

Automate your MQL-SQL handoff using CRM

  • 48% of marketers listed lacking expertise for using the data offered by marketing automation systems a major roadblock to using them to the fullest, according to a recent report.
  • Ensuring that the entire marketing-sales engagement process is automated and trackable is a good first step. For example, MQLs should be uploaded directly into CRM systems to automate the handoff between teams and reduce inefficiencies.

…and make your CRM system more intelligent 

  • Deeper insights on prospects’ behaviors enable marketing to create a more relevant nurture experience, which in turn leads to better qualified MQLs for sales.
  • Algorithmic data mining solutions (aka predictive intelligence) sit as a layer of intelligence on top of sales force automation/ CRM software. By integrating the latest in intelligent SaaS solutions, both marketing and sales can focus on nurturing only the best leads.

Set company-wide goals that harmonize sales and marketing

  • While marketing and sales inevitably have independent targets to achieve, setting common goals that encourage team alignment and discourage silo-ed efforts is a good way to increase communication between the two branches.
  • For example, work backwards to see what sales close goals translate to in terms of the MQLs required to get there.

…and let data drive your forecasting 

  • Predictive intelligence solutions can surface prospective buyers even before they appear in a CRM system.
  • Armed with this knowledge, marketing can more accurately pinpoint where new revenues will come from and when it’s the right time to pass to sales.

Image courtesy of BizGro

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