It’s not a secret that sales and marketing teams often don’t get along. In one Harvard Business Review survey, 87 percent of the terms sales and marketing use to describe each other are negative.
Key benefits of sales and marketing working together
But according to a study by Philip Kotler, published in Harvard Business Review when sales and marketing work together, companies see:
-Substantial improvement on important performance metrics
-The sales cycles are shorter
-Market-entry costs go down
-The cost of sales is lower
How to develop marketing and sales collaboration
1. Make sure they are on the same page when it comes to leads
One of the solutions to get sales and marketing to work together is by defining and agreeing on what a lead is and how to effectively score leads to help the two teams prioritize leads appropriately.
However, today’s existing lead scoring models are missing a critical attribute, leaving many high-potential leads at the top of the funnel instead of accelerating them through the funnel to close.
What qualifies as a lead?
It is important when sales and marketing work together to agree on what qualifies as a lead. Without a shared definition, the two teams will be working from different playbooks, resulting in leads being generated but sales don’t follow up or can't close.
Many businesses adopt the following definitions:
- Marketing-Qualified Leads (MQL): the prospect has shown some level of interest that tells marketing this is a genuine lead.
- Sales-Accepted Leads (SAL): sales accepts the lead and agrees to follow up.
- Sales-Qualified Leads (SQL): leads that have passed qualification by sales, and are moving into an opportunity stage.
But definition alone isn’t enough. Sales and marketing need to agree on the scoring system that helps sales and marketing prioritize high-quality leads.
That brings us to Lead Scoring.
What is lead scoring?
Lead scoring is an effective and quantifiable way to maintain alignment between sales and marketing.
It is the process of assigning values, often in the form of numerical points, to each lead marketing generates for the business. Leads accumulate points based on their interest and engagement. Once they reach a certain number, they become marketing-qualified.
A lead’s score is a combination of “Fit” (professional information) and “Interest” (their engagement with your website and brand). If there is a fit but low interest, marketing needs to continue nurturing the lead. If there is a fit and interest, sales needs to follow up quickly.
You can score your leads based on multiple attributes, including professional information and how they’ve engaged with your website and brand across the internet.
- Demographic: job title, education level, gender, age...
- Company: industry, size, revenue, location, tech stacks...
- Detracting scores for those who are not in the targeted demographic (e.g. students, interns) or if you detect it as spam (e.g. personal email address)
- Content engagement: demo request, email engagement, webinar attendance, live chats, content download, social media engagement…
- Different points for different types of content (e.g. visiting product pages should get more points than visiting the homepage)
- Lead score decay: detract scores if the lead has not re-engaged with your website or content after a certain time.
(For customer marketing who focuses on upsell and product engagement, lead scoring can also include support tickets, chats, product usage data, etc.)
However, a crucial missing attribute is: “Did this Lead already use my product in the past?” (i.e. in their previous company)
What are “Previous User” leads?
Working with leads that are already familiar with your product means reps need to spend less time pitching and can spend more time on discovering how the product can help their new organization.
This often increases the deal size and shortens your sales cycle since they are open to skip or minimize the trial period.
However, when a person changes their job and reengages using a new business email address, we lose all records of their previous interaction with us and treat them as if they’re new.
This challenge is similar to the cross-device challenge that B2C marketers experienced a few years ago when users engage with a brand on multiple devices (computer, tablet, phone). Today, cross-device targeting is a new normal for B2C marketers. It provides a bread crumb trail of each user, offering more insights on the interests and preferences of potential customers. This allows B2C marketers to target each user continuously and more effectively regardless of which device they’re on.
In the context of B2B, sales and marketing teams should also have “cross-account targeting” - a bread crumb trail of each contact (especially those that used your product in the past) even when they change jobs.
When a “new” lead engages with your website but is a previous user, they should receive additional “points” to help them accelerate quickly through the MQL-SAL-SQL funnel.
Adding “Previous User” as a criterion in your Lead Scoring will not only increase the number of high-quality MQLs, but these leads are also easier for sales reps to close, resulting in more revenue which is the one goal that both teams and the company can get behind.
2. Implement cross-account targeting
To do this at scale, you need a sales intelligence data provider that tracks contacts for job changes.
But first, you need to work with the Product and Engineering team to sync your user base into your CRM. This includes user names, email addresses, product usage data (if possible) to identify power vs. casual users.
Next, as you evaluate data vendors, keep in mind the below criteria to maximize your return on investment and minimize disruption to your existing sales and marketing teams:
Automated & Integrated With Your Existing Environment
Evaluate vendors on their ability to automatically track job changes, enrich your contacts with new information directly in your CRM, and work with your existing lead routing process. The last thing you want is having your reps learn yet another tool, or having your ops team rebuild their processes.
Job change is one of the greatest triggers in sales. Being in front of the buyers at the right time (e.g. when they’re new to the organization and need to drive change) gives you a 74% higher chance to win over the competition, as per InsideSales. Depending on your sales cycle, you should look for vendors that can update your CRM monthly or quarterly. Anything longer than 3 months and you could risk being late to the buying discussion.
A lead is only workable if reps have accurate work email addresses and phone numbers. Many vendors make this claim but only a few are able to deliver accurate work email addresses, especially for buyers that are less than 3 months on the new role. Verify their data quality during your trials.
What is UserGems?
UserGems helps revenue teams drive bigger pipeline and faster sales cycle. Now that you know how to improve marketing and sales collaboration, use a sales intelligence software to streamline the process.
Whenever your customers change their jobs, UserGems automatically surfaces them as new leads to your sales reps in your CRM. This allows reps to be in front of the buyers at the right time, and ahead of the competitors.