"Half the money I spend on advertising is a waste; the trouble is I don't know which half." - John Wanamaker
While the quote itself may be almost a century old, it's still a sentiment felt by many marketers and business owners in 2013.
One of the cornerstones of a successful inbound marketing campaign is its ability to align sales and marketing to deliver more qualified leads, and also track and measure the cost of those acquired. Despite its crucial importance, many businesses still admit to not practicing sales and marketing alignment.
Don't allow your company to become unaware of the ROI of each marketing activity you're carrying out.
The Growing Importance of Sales and Marketing Alignment
According to a HubSpot study, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment grew their annual revenue by 20% in 2010.
Aligning your sales and marketing teams is paramount in your ability to generate more high-quality, sales ready leads.
Unifying sales and marketing can be boiled down to four steps:
Set up closed-loop reporting – All of your marketing initiatives have a cost. Each blog posts, ebook, and page your eventual customers visit had a cost to produce. In order to ensure you’re executing a profitable campaign, it’s critical to identify the cost-per leads in order to more effectively allocate your resources.
Define quality lead – In order for the sales team to close more sales, they need more qualified leads. In order for marketing to create the content necessary to generate qualified leads, they need to know what these leads are interested in.Both teams should be involved in the definition of qualified leads and your company buyer personas.
Define levels of your sales funnel – It’s important for both the marketing and sales teams to fully understand the levels of the company sales funnel, and the marketing and sales initiatives that should follow.
Implement lead scoring – Your sales team should be marking all leads as either qualified, or unqualified in a CRM like Salesforce. Doing so gives the entire sales team an agenda moving forward on what leads to move on.
Ensuring sales and marketing alignment will give your marketing team a more targeted direction and deliver more high-quality leads to your sales team. After all, the last thing you want is your sales team wasting their time on the phone with unqualified leads.
Says Peter Caputa, Director of Channel Sales and Marketing at HubSpot:
“The key step to generating qualified leads is to fully define your buyer personas,” says Caputa. “Then, create content that will resonate with them at each step of their buying process. If you find that you’re unable to connect 1:1 with your leads at the right rate, leads unsubscribe from your email lists at a high rate, or you’re always attracting a low level influencer, you’re not creating the right content. Step back, define personas and map your content and editorial calendar to the personas and their buying stages.”