Aligning sales and marketing to save time
As the buyer has changed overtime, so have the roles of marketers and sellers. As Aberdeen noted in their research brief: Sales Enablement: Fulfilling the Last Frontier of Marketing and Sales Alignment, the idea that marketers market and salespeople sell, is no longer the case. As the mandates for sales and marketing continue to converge, it is important to find efficiencies in processes in order to ensure that time is not being wasted by either department.
Since the average B2B buyer now goes through 57% of the sales process prior to reaching out to a rep, it’s vital that marketing’s message is not only engaging but also geared towards moving prospects through the buying cycle. If there is a poor sales and marketing strategy in place it is hard to know when you are spinning your wheels and wasting time. Furthermore, it is important that you are not only targeting the right message, but targeting the right people with that message. Up to 7 % of sales are lost by not having properly aligned territories. Once they are aligned in message and strategy, sales needs to ensure they have the right coverage. That means ensuring territories are properly valued, based on historical performance metrics, so you understand what capacity you need. With sales capacity being what it is for most organizations, you cannot afford to be speaking to the wrong people. By valuing your territories optimally and pulling in data in real time, you can ensure that your sales people are wisely spending their time focusing on the right people, geography, industry, or group.
The next area to recover wasted time is in the lead management process. Some companies allow their sales reps to spend as much as 40% of their time looking for someone to call. That is a highly inefficient use of your company’s most valuable resources. By having a better lead generation process in place, you can drastically cut back on the amount of time a sales rep wastes on tracking down their own leads. By using a marketing automation solution you can track the anonymous visitors on your website, nurture cold leads into warm leads, and use lead scoring to prioritize calls. This will allow for you to leverage the skills of your marketing team to ensure that your sales reps spend more time selling to warm leads and less time chasing cold ones.
According to HBR, by getting to an inquiry within 1 hour, you’re 7 times more likely to convert that inquiry into an opportunity. With that in mind, if a sales rep follows up on a lead immediately and is unable to connect right away, don’t allow that lead to then go idle. If you’re only making a few attempts at contacting a prospect, then you are wasting your sales people’s time. Leads should continue to be nurtured and reached out to over and over until contact is made. Setting up proper training will ensure that your sales people understand the importance of quick follow up, and that they are persistently chasing down prospects with the right message and right products. Without a good training process in place the lead management system you have can, and will, become ineffective.
The final thing to keep in mind is why you win and why you lose deals. Having a good grasp on what made you win a deal or lose a deal will help you hone your messaging further to bring more of the right type of prospects into the top of your funnel. Spending a lot of time working on a sale that is lost can be frustrating, but not learning from that painful process is a wasted opportunity and a waste of time spent. It is also important to remember that wins and losses can occur at every stage of the sales cycle, not just at the end. It is marketing’s responsibility to move leads from inquiries, to MQL (marketing qualified leads), to SQL (sales qualified leads). If marketing is unable to move the leads forward, it’s a loss. Conversely, having a process in place to reengage with stalled opportunities, can turn what would have been a loss into a win.
For a more in-depth look at sales and marketing time wasters download insidesales.com whitepaper: 15 Time Wasters of Inside Sales and Lead Generation.