We would like to share an interesting situation that happened recently at a customer meeting. We were crafting their sales playbook, and we were running a brainstorming meeting with the leaders of the Sales and Marketing departments.
The meeting objective that morning was to identify the root of the problem since the conversion of leads was extremely low.
While assessing the best practices on how to engage with leads, how to qualify them, and how to convert them, we noticed some friction between Marketing and Sales leaders.
Marketing vs. Sales
Marketing was working hard to generate leads, while Sales focused on managing the opportunities and closing the deals. Marketing complained that Sales followed up poorly with the leads and was unable to convert them. Sales complained that the quality of the actual leads was low and that these leads were anything but ready to buy.
It was obvious that the two were not getting along as they should. It even looked as if they were working for two different companies. We also realized, during that meeting, that they were not speaking the same language. Therefore, they each had their own interpretations.
Simple questions such as—what is a lead?—had different answers that were worlds apart. This was a symptom that quickly showed that the key concepts that they used on a regular basis, such as MQL (marketing qualified leads) or SQL (sales qualified leads) had different meanings. These meanings differed not only in definition but also in the value that they represented.
This part of the sales process was important for both Sales and Marketing and required further intervention. We were able to not only create alignment and speak the same language but also to implement a productive feedback loop. As a consequence, the entire lead generation process improved.
A new opportunity
We find this exciting. When a company gives us the opportunity to help them, it does not entail telling them something they don’t already know. The real power is ensuring that processes and expectations fit nicely together. A best practice only comes to life when it is properly implemented. A seemingly innocent misalignment can create chaos in the long term.
But here’s the thing:
The different understandings between departments only contribute to misalignment. As a result, friction builds up and further alienation takes place, as real resources in generating leads are never properly nurtured.
There is good news
There is a way that allows teams to communicate and understand each other more effectively by giving them a shared language. A sales playbook can enable both Sales and Marketing to use a unique repository of knowledge they use. A sales playbook is the container of a company’s standards.
As part of implementing a sales playbook, all departments align their visions and goals. Thus, they have the best strategy and approach to close deals, allowing them to bring more revenue to the company. The most important condition in this part is to get the commitment and support of both Sales and Marketing.
In the Lead Gen chapter of this company’s sales playbook, we covered the following:
1. Clearly defined KPIs, roles and responsibilities for both teams.
2. A redesigned practical lead gen process, including definitions, qualification, criteria, and steps.
3. A description of what to do/say when engaging with leads, properly supported by CRM and other tools.
The process of documenting helps individual sales professionals feel confident, knowing that they’re using a method of selling that works. This creates a feedback loop of positivity, making their sales efforts far more effective.
When Sales and Marketing managers share the ownership of the lead generation process, the company is on track to truly excel in boosting the lead conversions that everyone is looking for!