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Setting Expectations

Vicki O'Neill Cincinnati Marketing and Sales

Tip 2: Setting expectations for Marketing and Sales

B2B companies' inability to align marketing and sales teams around the right processes and technologies has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year, or $100 million dollars for a billion dollar company. Source: IDC

I don't know about you but losing 10% of revenue per year is an alarming number. On the flip side, what would your financials, stakeholders, annual commitments look like if you GAINED that 10% back?

This number is only one of many that demonstrate why having marketing and sales teams alignment is so important. It's not JUST the revenue - it's also about the customer experience, customer retention and efficiencies.

Whether you're a marketing and/or sales leader, get your 2018 strategy out and take a look at it. Do you have separate goals for each team or are there differences across the board? I'm betting if there are separate people leading each team there are more disconnects than connects in the strategy and goals.

Here are a 3 ways you can start aligning your marketing and sales teams (even mid-year!):

  1. Learn each other's terminology Create a list of terminology that each department uses (and that are important to a combined strategy) but the other isn't aware of - then have fun with how each other learns the new terms. For example: Marketing terms: SEO, buyer persona, bounce rate, CTA, engagement rate, infographic, etc. Sales terms: Discovery, AIDA, buying signals, forecasting, quota, pipeline, pain point, etc. When making the list think about not only the definition but why the other team needs to know about it, i.e. CTA (call to action) is important to marketing to know what's effective and what's not in prompting a prospect to take action. This same term is important to sales as any prospect that takes action becomes a lead and may end up in their funnel so it needs to be good one!

  2. Create a joint plan A marketing plan is a blueprint for reaching your target customer base. A sales plan is a specific and measurable breakdown of a company's financial commitments. In order for these to be in sync, here's an idea: Create "what if" scenarios for sales and marketing today as if the desired joint goals are in place. Look at the list and identify what needs to be done when, by whom and identify the end result. Review the plan and anticipated results with everyone that will be involved. Change is difficult for most people so communication is key! The joint plan should also include metrics tied to a payout for both teams. In a restaurant that has waiters and food runners, both get tips however are paid differently: the wait staff paid by patron and the food runner paid from the night's sales. This same approach can be used in your company (and needs to be budgeted accordingly!): commission payout for each sale and monthly or quarterly payout for marketing for company results. Marketing has (more) skin in the game at this point - with a joint plan in place the expectations are clearer on the best leads and how to generate them.

  3. Align goals Create marketing goals that drive sales. Create marketing goals that increases customer retention. Create marketing goals that increases lead win rates. With that - sales, customer retention and lead win rate - marketing is setup for a great financial payout and sales will earn more commission. Win/win!

In order for there to be alignment - and more importantly an increase in efficiencies, an increase in revenue and an increase in customer retention - both teams need to have "skin in the game". When there's accountability and expectations, especially shared among more than two people, there is a higher probability of achievement. In fact:

The American Society of Training and Development did a study on accountability and found that if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you've committed to you are 95% more likely to make it happen than if there is no commitment or accountability.

In a sales management position I held, when we changed the monthly goals to reflect the behaviors we wanted (focused on results vs activities), there was more participation because the performance affected their commission. Create expectations that drive the behaviors and results you want.

What action/s are you going to take now? Comment below!

NEXT on the reading list: Customer Experience


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