There is a lot of innovation in the marketing technology space today. And, there are many software platforms that claim to bring sales and marketing teams back together. In fact, I used to work for one that touted this as one of their core values. In my role, managing EverString’s Sales Development Organization, there’s no one who wants to see strong alignment between these groups more than me. The Sales Development Organization essentially helps bridge that gap between sales and marketing, by following up and qualifying marketing’s leads and handing them off to sales.
When everything is going according to plan and marketing is strong and thriving, they are delivering great leads that my team, the Sales Development Reps, are following up on. When sales is strong and thriving, they receive well-qualified leads from my team that end up becoming customers.
The Sales Development Rep lives between sales and marketing, and trust me, when they aren’t aligned my life is very difficult.
The Root of Sales and Marketing Misalignment
The arguments between sales and marketing are often rooted in two fundamental problems–there are either not enough leads or there are too many leads of low quality. Particularly with the issue of too many low quality leads, the friction between these groups often stem from goals or variable compensation centered on volume-based metrics.
Marketers are under pressure to create more and more leads and sales teams are under pressure to close more and more deals. In theory, it seems like these two goals are directly in line with one another—however, the quest for more leads doesn’t always correlate to more deals.
The intense pressure marketers are under to drive more leads has created a proliferation of marketing practices to drive growth at the top-of-the-funnel—think PPC, SEO, social, events, and list acquisition, to name a few. Sure, these programs are a great way to get more names into the database. But names are just that—names. They are not qualified or even truly engaged with your company. Therefore, they can’t really even be called leads or qualified potential buyers.
Marketing and Sales Realignment with Predictive Marketing
So, how do we create more alignment amongst the key revenue teams? To start, the volume-based imperative must change. Instead, marketing teams should focus on driving quality leads that have a higher propensity to buy. And, by using scoring methodology, marketers can more effectively prioritize accounts and leads for the Sales Development Reps to call and qualify—enabling sales to close more deals.
I know, this all sounds great in theory, but how can this be done?
Using predictive marketing, you can create an ideal customer model—which combines data from your own historical sales and external data to illustrate your perfect buyer. Once this model is created, you can utilize that data intelligence for both demand generation (adding net-new leads into your funnel) and scoring (prioritizing accounts and leads for sales based on predictive intelligence). By using data to drive your strategy, marketers can drive more high quality leads and your Sales Development Reps and ultimately your sales teams, can close deals faster.
How We Do It At EverString
At EverString, we delineate two types of records—Marketing Captured Leads (MCL) and Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL). By our definition, and MCL is a just a name we’ve acquired, while an MQL is a lead that is above our fit score threshold (80) and has engaged in certain and specific marketing activities. We drive engagement through the use of our marketing automation system (Marketo) and we use our own product to apply a predictive score.
And where do we get our leads you might ask? We use EverString to drive high-fit, net-new leads into the top-of-funnel . Those accounts and leads are based on historical data about what type of customers close for our company. So right out of the gate, these leads are qualified from the beginning—eliminating a lot of the frustration between sales and marketing.
By using predictive marketing, your top-of-funnel is filled with names from companies that have a high probability to buy. Armed with predictive marketing, your marketing team consistently deliver leads to sales that look like your customers. That’s the kind of harmony every organization, and in my case, every Sales Development team, would love to see!
Have you considered using predictive marketing in your sales funnel?