Many marketing professionals would say it’s not possible or desirable to meet a quota. But a quota can improve alignment between Sales and Marketing. It can drive Marketing to stay involved throughout the sales cycle. And can help measure marketing effectiveness.

Sales and Marketing departments often treat each other with a certain amount of suspicion. Neither thinks the other understands what they do, or values it. In reality, both have a role in meeting the company’s revenue goals. But to be most effective in growing revenue, sales and marketing have to be aligned. The first step is to define common terms, goals, and measurements.

Leads vs. Opportunities

As an easy example, a click-through or open isn’t a lead. A lead is a qualified response that Sales can follow up on.

But, while that’s a fairly traditional definition, the accompanying idea that Marketing just pitches leads over the fence and moves on is now rather outdated. Sales has to do the follow-up. But Marketing also has a role in nurturing an opportunity.

The role of Marketing in closing a deal doesn’t just stop with generating leads. We at Crimson hate the concept of “handing off a lead” to Sales. We like to think of it as “introducing an opportunity to Sales.” Marketing doesn’t lose the relationship with that opportunity, but maintains a connection.

To develop that relationship, Marketing needs a process in place to score leads. By working with the inside sales team, Marketing can further qualify leads. Once a lead is qualified and converted into an opportunity, Marketing can continue to help in the following ways:

  • Pipeline acceleration programs to help Sales with more individualized programs for opportunities that haven’t moved forward.
  • More marketing touches to help Sales get a prospect moving.
  • More information for prospects who are ready to close, but for some reason haven’t.

Tracking Revenue Goals with Marketing Automation

Some marketing departments don’t focus on revenue as a goal because they either don’t know how or think they can’t measure it. Both Marketing and Sales need to set up a lead-tracking system—all the way through the buying cycle—to know when a prospect purchases, renews, or cancels. This enables the company to track Marketing’s contribution to revenue. Companies that don’t have this type of marketing system in place, find it difficult to measure marketing’s impact.

In fact, most companies that use marketing automation use it as a basic email distribution system. Marketing should progressively score leads, measure conversion rates and measure the speed of conversion as an opportunities move through the sales funnel. Armed with data like this, they can build a model that tells them what they need to achieve during every step of the buyers’ journey on the way to a sale.

How to put all marketing programs under a quota

An investment in marketing that is higher in the sales funnel, like awareness campaigns, or social marketing might seem difficult to tie to a revenue number. But it’s actually not. Not only can you set measureable targets for creating awareness, but you can also incorporate demand generation elements into awareness initiatives.

For example, while an ad might be for the purpose of generating awareness, it can also have a call to action that leads to a personalized landing page in the marketing automation system. Or a link to a web page where readers can download something. PR and social media content can also drive buyers to a microsite for a free trial or a webcast, or a number of other measurable actions.

A social media campaign can measure marketing analytics such as follower growth, retweets, or other actions that help move buyers into the sales funnel. If you promote a webinar on social media, set up a separate registration URL for each channel and see where the signups come in. Then follow those attendees and see how many become enter the pipeline, and how many eventually become buyers.

The result of these changes in thinking, in coordination, and in how you use tools—is marketing that shows its value to the bottom line. Sales and Marketing coordinate more and work better together to realize real business growth. Documenting the results of marketing work in filling the pipeline, moving prospects along the sales cycle, and closing deals increases credibility for Marketing. And being able to prove it, earns more respect for the real results Marketing brings in, and enables Marketing to have confidence in signing up for a quota.

This article was inspired by my podcast interview with Kerry Langstaff, Vice President of Marketing at Xignite.

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Glenn Gow

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