I’ve started an eight-part series I’m calling the ‘Lead Generation Checklist.’ Each post in the series addresses a step that will help to make your lead generation campaigns work like a well-oiled machine.
In the first installment, I discussed tackling your organization’s lead generation mindset. Your touches should be conversations not just campaigns. Your “marketing” approach should be more consultative. The post received a lot of great comments. Ardath Ablee was fascinated by one and wrote about it in her blog. I think you’ll find “How to Use Existing Content in B2B Demand Generation Programs” helpful. Thanks Ardath.
Now for Step Two. I want to focus on dissolving the discord that inevitably exists between your sales and marketing teams.
How long has it been since your marketing and sales teams got together for a really productive meeting? In reality, the best mindset, strategy and tactics – and the most astute sales and marketing individuals – are for naught without the collaboration of everyone involved. It can be tough to meld inherently diverse viewpoints, but it is a critical and often overlooked step in the lead generation process.
There is a direct correlation between lead generation ROI and the frequency that sales and marketing productively meet to collaborate.
Here are a few guidelines that in my experience really help to ensure that marketing and sales connect together as one team:
- The departments should document the sales process as a team from first contact to close. Your organization’s way of selling and marketing must confirm to the customer’s buying process, driven by a clear understanding of both the needs and the impact of those needs on both the company and your customers. Keep in mind that each customer will have a slightly different buying process.
- The activities of both groups should be measured and coordinated with shared goals. Be sure to create value for the customer throughout the process. Ensure that marketing is giving sales something to work with. Sales should be privy to invaluable information that will help them in their selling process. Map tools, skills, and performance metrics along with the process.
- If you haven’t already, get marketing and sales together to create a formal, concise summation of the value proposition via message map. If you already have a statement, make sure both teams are working off the same version. Wish-washy and unfounded statements about the benefits customers get from working with your organization can be the cause of lead generation problems. For prospective customers, a value proposition essentially answers the questions of how you can help their business, what difference you can make and why your solution is the one they should count on. Your value proposition should be specific, right down to numbers or percentages.
- Marketing and sales should have regular huddles. Marketing should solicit, study, and act upon feedback from sales. Sales should never ignore a lead and must send it back if it is not sales-ready. Communicate what works and what doesn’t. On-going close-loop huddles will keep you on the same page and offer ways for continuous improvement in your new process. If you do communicate are you doing if often enough? I would suggest meeting once a week. Are your meetings as efficient as possible? Are you really communicating or just pointing fingers?
If you’ve found success in getting your marketing and sales team on the same page drop me a note. I’d love to pass along your advice. Next in the series, I’ll discuss how to clearly define your target market.
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