Magazine article CRM Magazine

Integrate Marketing and Sales for Revenue Results: Create a High-Powered, Unified Revenue Engine

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Integrate Marketing and Sales for Revenue Results: Create a High-Powered, Unified Revenue Engine

Article excerpt

With the common overarching objective of growing the business, one would think that the workflow process between sales and marketing would function like a well-oiled machine. However, if that really were the case, then why is it that, according to research from SiriusDecisions, salespeople only work on 11 percent of the leads marketers send their way?

The fundamental problem with marketing's ability to contribute more directly to the sales department's success is that each department has its own pipeline. At many companies, the two pipelines are managed separately and contain different data. And even when there is overlap, new intelligence about a lead in one pipeline doesn't necessarily reach the other pipeline. The information exchange is haphazard or non-existent, ending in "leakage"--the slipping-away of leads that could have become customers.

"Sales is now coming to marketing and saying, 'Guys, we need your help,'" says Debbie Qaqish, a principal and chief revenue marketing officer at The Pedowitz Group, which helps companies fine-tune and execute demand generation strategies.

At the same time, the marketing department is under pressure to demonstrate its impact on revenue, due to demands for more accountability and increasing pressure from executives. This is partly the result of the weak global economy. "There's a high-intensity need to get revenue," Qaqish says. "It's been a hard few years."

That's why marketing and sales must look for ways to align what they do more closely.

To begin with, marketing and sales need to think of themselves as a single revenue function. This requires them, for instance, to agree on a common definition of what a lead is and jointly define what qualifies as an A, B, C, and D level lead. The two organizations should define a few simple lead qualification and scoring questions that can tell them how "hot" a prospect is (with A being the hottest, or most likely to transact quickly, and D being the coolest). This lead scoring enables marketers to determine whether prospects are fundamentally good fits (right titles, right geographies, right types of companies), and then to determine, based on those prospects' online behaviors, how close they are to actually transacting.

The marketing team should make it a high priority to act more as a service provider to sales. If marketing spots activity that shows a prospect has become more likely to buy (such as a prospect's attending a webinar, actively engaging with the corporate web site, or downloading of product datasheet), that information should be transmitted to sales. …

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