Aligning Sales and Marketing is often called ‘a challenge’. And it can be. But attitude changes everything. Adopting a positive attitude and a staged approach to alignment will bring desired results.
In a recent blog article, Salesforce makes four points on how to leverage its CRM software for this purpose. Here’s my perspective, set out in 4 easy steps to align Sales – Marketing, in and beyond Salesforce.
4 Easy Steps to Align Sales – Marketing
- STEP 1: Agree on what the ideal prospect looks like. Now, Account Execs might have their view on this. However, this view is to be complemented with market research.
The person who converts the most easily can be great for quick-win sales. However, what you really are after is a sustainable target market with whom you are going to build a team approach. The ideal customer may be discerning, but loyal when convinced. Ten repeat sales are better than 1-off sales, 10 times. Right?!
As the company and the market evolves, this ideal customer profile will have to be revisited from time to time. But to create an agreed-upon starting point, is paramount to get the ball rolling and move to step 2.
You can use a marketing automation feature called ‘prospect grading’ to specify which prospect characteristics would qualify as ‘ideal’, ‘nice!’, ‘ok-ish’, and ‘not quite on target’. Think of things like industry, geographical location and company size as grading parameters. Job title might be another.
- STEP 2: Define (exactly) what a sales-ready lead is. Demographics are one thing, but having that person willing to part with her cash, is another. In other words, you must define what sales-ready is.
In marketing automation terms this would be called ‘lead scoring’. To what extend is the prospect progressed in his/her purchasing journey to be ready to talk to a Sales rep. That person might have downloaded an industry white paper, participated in a free webinar, and visited the pricing page on your website.
- STEP 3: Link Your Marketing Automation System to Your CRM System. In the case of Pardot and ExactTarget, there are many ways & degrees to which you could build linkages and integration.
Some of this integration is a simple one-click, whereas other types of integration require configuration. What’s best depends on the nature of your business.
- STEP 4: Track the Sales and Marketing Metrics that Matter. The proof IS the pudding. Or less cryptic: being able to proof that that your marketing works is the sweetspot.
What is so powerful about marketing automation tools is that you can actually track your marketing campaign results along the various stages in your pipeline, including the actual dollar sales realised with each campaign.
Having a marketing ROI in hand is of course very powerful. But also, consistently filling the pipeline in the earlier stages is very powerful and important for sales planning but also for things like cashflow management and production planning.
The final tip in Salesforce’s article is to keep on doing it as successful sales and marketing alignment is not achieved overnight. But you knew that. Now, start with step 1.
Learn more about Salesforce CRM integeration with Pardot, in our Inbound Marketing Platform Comparison, which highlights 7 reasons why to choose Pardot (particularly for mid-sized B2B). Sales and Marketing alignment is one of them.
Art. Ref / Image Credit : Salesforce blog, ‘Sales and Marketing Alignment: Never Ending Cycle of Success’.