“A lead only adds value to your business if they actually become business.” Your sales team should align with your digital marketing investments to drive the highest possible value to your business.
In this video, Derrick Turner, Director of Services, explains more about how Augurian optimizes the alignment of sales and digital marketing investments.
Josh: Derrick and I thought we’d talk a little bit about sales and marketing alignment today. It’s something that comes up a lot with our clients or prospective clients. Why don’t you go through your logic around why sales and marketing alignment is so important?
Derrick: Sure. It’s a topic that’s being talked about more and more, I would say, each year by the industry. I think that it’s really the realization that a lead only has value to the business if it actually becomes business. Uncovering the reasons why a lead might not actually become business is very important to ultimately optimizing and having marketing be effective.
Josh: Cool. What are some of the reasons that you’re seeing that people aren’t getting value from those leads?
Derrick: I’d say that generally, the problem is going to lie in one area, either on the marketing side or the sales side. Identifying where that lives is really important to be able to solve the problem. As far as the reasons, from a marketing perspective, obviously quality is a big thing. Are these people who are submitting information, do they have buying intent? Are these people our sales team want to talk to you?
That’s a really big thing and it’s a pretty difficult thing to understand as a marketer unless you have some data to support where you are buying quality and where you may be getting a bunch of leads, but they’re not necessarily qualified and therefore have no business value. On the other side of the house, you have the sales team. There’s, I’d say, three things that really come top of mind for reasons why leads might not be a value to the business. One is process. Are we calling these leads fast enough?
A lot of industries are competitive. Their prospects when you reach out to multiple people. Some of your competition might be incredibly fast in terms of being the first people to actually reach them. Speak to lead is a very important thing just in terms of lead gen campaigns.
Josh: I would say, I think, especially with companies that have little longer sales cycles, you end up having salespeople who really, they just want to talk to the people that are showing a ton of buying intent. They don’t really want to have to work leads. It really depends on the culture of the sales team as well. At least in my experience, I found where marketing is saying, “Hey, we’re sending you all these leads,” and sales is saying, “Well, they suck.” The reality is that maybe they just not working them hard enough, or they’re only really interested in the ones that are going to tip and be easy for them.
Derrick: I think you uncovered another consistent point there just in terms of the persistence and having people who are ready to talk to you today. Two ways I think about this. People are typically giving you their cell phone numbers, they’re going to be busy, they’re going to be in meetings. You call them back once, you call them back twice, you might not necessarily get on the phone with them. Especially for longer sales cycles, persistence is a very big deal.
Another thing there too is getting people who are ready to talk to you. In terms of things I’ve seen be successful for marketing, I really think of marketing as really stand-in digital sales force that can start conversations with people when they’re ready to have them. Having ads that say, “Hey, if you’re ready to talk to a salesperson,” and can actually generate that call and go to somebody who they’re ready to talk to them can be a great way to multiply your salesforce just in terms of letting the digital ads really start those conversations when people are ready to have them and then giving warm leads through sales team.
The last thing I want to hit on is script, and this falls under process as well. Even within sales teams, different sales people are going to have different rates at which you’re able to close businesses even if the leads are coming from more or less the same source. Identifying that and measuring that and understanding that is really important if you want to incrementally over time, ramp up the value of the leads, which you really have to, because most digital marketing channels are seeing inflation. If we aren’t able to opt is the rate at which we’re converting these leads to sales, things are going to get more expensive over time.
Josh: I feel, generally, if you start treating your sales team as data points and you start looking at the outliers of and find those one or two people, and you say, “Well, why are they outperforming everyone else?” It might just be that they’re calling back a little bit faster, or they’re making those three to four phone calls, or they’re willing to nurture leads in different ways than other people are. All the process and everything is hugely important.
Derrick: Two things that I want to call out to from a technical perspective, routing is very important, just making sure that the sales team is getting the leads. I have seen many examples where a marketing program has gone off, it’s been successful, it’s driven what seemingly is quality just in terms of first glance, to find out that the sales team wasn’t receiving these leads because of technical process or flow. That’s obviously very disappointing, and you don’t want to have that happen.
Josh: Or you set up like this chat window and then there’s people who are trying to get on chats and nobody’s actually responding to them. That can be really frustrating and that’s one of those pieces where I’m ready to talk. I want to chat, I have questions and if the sales team doesn’t believe in the chat or they just feel like they’re too busy to answer it, that can be a real problem too. What’s the first step that people should be taken then with this kind of sales and marketing alignment?
Derrick: The first step to wisdom is identification. I really advocate for just getting baselines with as narrow of a scope as you can to at least start that conversation in terms of identifying where the problem actually lies. There’s a range of options for how you can do this. Some are quicker to implement, aren’t as scalable and sustainable but they will get you in a better spot, which can be as simple as just carrying lead sources through to your CRM and doing manual analysis on a monthly basis.
The way that we typically recommend is looking at integrating tracking from your marketing campaigns all the way through into the CRM in a process that we call closed-loop analytics, in a way that allows us to consistently export offline activity into our marketing sources of truth to understand over time, just where are we seeing that fall off? Are we driving quality from a marketing perspective and then ideally, can we do the same thing and talk to sales and see, are we hitting the metrics that we need to head to really drive value from these leads?
Josh: I think the power then too is once you do understand where the real dollars need to go, you can start optimizing for that based on this CRM data. We know who came to the site and became a customer, and we know their happy path, and we can start optimizing for that happy path and capture more of those people.
Derrick: Exactly, and you might really surprise yourself just in terms of where you should be buying leads. I’ve seen in my career examples where you can get hundreds of leads for a very low cost and then ultimately nothing converts and there was simply a barrier there that wasn’t identified when that campaign started that could have prevented that. I’ve seen cases where leads that look on paper very expensive, we found that they close a very high percentage of the time, and campaigns that we would typically have turned off because we thought that this was not tolerable in terms of where we need to be from the business perspective, have actually made the cut as a result of having this additional data.
In terms of empowering your marketing team and empowering your business, its really important stuff is just that baseline measurement one way or the other.
Josh: This is awesome. We enjoy talking about sales and marketing alignment around here, and we love having conversations about how we can help you get there so reach out if you’re interested in sales and marketing alignment. Thanks, everybody.