We’re in the final stretch of January. This week we’ve put our thinking caps on to help sales leaders get the best out of 2017. It’s often lonely at the top, but when you’ve got a marketing leader with similar goals, it doesn’t need to be. In this post, we explore how working with your marketing counterpart can help you set the right KPIs and create alignment between both departments. And if you’ve ever wondered how to develop your relationship with marketing, or how you can influence sales enablement, we’ve covered that, too. Here are four New Year’s resolutions that every sales team needs:
1. Set KPIs that drive your sales process
KPIs are not one-size-fits-all things. Different businesses have different goals, target markets and strategies. But when it comes to setting the right KPIs for your sales team, roping in your marketing team will help you build a set KPIs that both departments can commit to. After all, you’re both working towards the same goals.
Your conversations with marketing should be based on actions they can perform that will help your sales team meet its targets. For example, your new quota includes growth on last year’s. If you’ve established your team’s closing rate, you’ll be able to let marketing know how many marketing qualified leads you’ll need every month to meet quota by the end of the year.
Developing aligned and transparent KPIs for both sales and marketing ensures accountability between departments. KPIs should clearly show what both sales and marketing commit to, and how each team’s efforts are matched by activity on the other side. For example, if marketing commits to generating 100 new marketing qualified leads each week for sales, sales will commit to contacting each lead a certain amount of times, and within a agreed time frame, to try and convert them to sales qualified leads.
KPIs like these will help both teams move in sync and can lead to more effective sales and marketing results.
2. Be more responsible
It can be tough assuming responsibility for failure, but owning a problem before it gets out of control is the quickest way to resolve it. When it comes to sales and marketing challenges, speaking the same language is the easiest way to prevent catastrophes.
At Qorus, we’ve nipped potential communication problems in the bud by making sure that sales and marketing understand each other's responsibilities, and what the entire customer journey looks like. For example, both teams know that sales is passed a marketing qualified lead as soon as the lead is assigned a certain lead score (determined by events attended, and collateral downloaded). They are also given information about the actions the lead took to receive “qualified” status. Our sales team then engages the lead and the process moves forward.
But it doesn’t stop there. Speaking the same language means knowing and understanding how each part of the marketing funnel relates to the sales funnel. This makes for better conversations about KPIs and clearer expectations.
3. Build a stronger relationship with marketing
A worthy goal for any sales leader is to develop an honest and mutually beneficial relationship with their marketing counterpart. While it may read like a mouthful, it’s not nearly as hard to do. Your marketing counterpart wants to help you succeed and there is proof that they can. According to Marketo, 52% of pipeline revenue is generated by marketing departments in revenue performance management businesses. For marketing, it’s not just about passing leads your way, it’s about helping you accelerate the sales process so that you can close deals in the shortest period of time.
So, how do you build a stronger relationship with marketing? The simple answer: Share more.
Giving marketing a closer look at how your sales operation works will help them do a better job – i.e. it will help them to help you.
Here are five aspects of your sales operation that you can share:
- Common objections your team encounters
- Examples of marketing leads that seem to have education gaps
- Insight into which marketing collateral your prospects find useful or not
- A workshop detailing your sales process and any changes to it
- Any new threats that your sales team has come across and how they handle them in the field
4. Accelerate the sales process
While often seen as a marketing responsibility, sales can play an important role in sales enablement. If we strip sales down to bare basics, the goal is to find more customers. The role of sales in the sales enablement process therefore extends to having the right processes and tools in place to support and grow sales.
Here are two things to consider as you empower your team this year:
1. Consider “re-boarding” your sales team. “Re-boarding” is all about creating an environment where constant learning becomes part of the job. Research by Sales Management Association found that one in three sales people aren’t proficient by the end of initial onboarding. Add to that the fact that new threats, innovations and opportunities come up almost every week. Making sure that your sales processes are adhered to is vital.
2. Get your team the right tools. Accounting for accurate pipelines is just one part of the sales team’s responsibility today. Finding marketing collateral to create winning customer presentations or proposals is the another, and it can consume around 20% of the average sales person’s work week. Smart sales acceleration software, can be a game changer for your team. Take the Qorus sales enablement solution, for example, it integrates with your CRM, helping your team find the right content to pass to the right persona at each stage of the process, saving precious sales time and accelerating the entire cycle.
While some may view sales success as part science, part art, there’s no arguing that planning, execution and a strong relationship with marketing definitely helps.
To find out more about the positive impact that sales acceleration software can have within your organization, download our free eBook: