Growth Expectations – Understanding how Marketing and Sales contribute in tandem to achieve revenue targets.
Whether organisations admit it or not, there is a need for Marketing and Sales to be joined at the hip. It’s a symbiotic relationship, but one that is sadly not regarded as a union of equality.
The war between Sales and Marketing departments is found in organisations due to a lack of trust and respect on both sides of the fence. This ill-feeling towards each other further enhances the rift between the two departments, and sometimes this can be to the point where each team is siloed into making decisions that end up hurting the overall business goals. By not being in-sync with each other, the messages being relayed out to the market are confusing, and the flow on effect results in the organisation’s credibility being weakened. Journalists will pounce, partnerships are questioned and business opportunities may be lost if the organisation’s identity is at best regarded as bi-polar, at worst schizophrenic.
It’s time to lay down your egos! No one cares if you have an MBA, or if you’ve worked your way up from the bottom, at the end of the day we all have a job to do, so stop squabbling and move on!
Over the years, I have drafted, refined and personalised workflows highlighting the path from ‘Lead’ to ‘Opportunity’ qualifying whose responsibility it is at each step of the way. It can get a bit grey if a company doesn’t have an inside sales team (or a third party to outsource this function to), but thankfully, both Sales and Marketing agree that once a Lead has been qualified by Marketing, it’s turned over to Sales in the expectation a purchase order will result and the loop will be closed.
This process is not what we need to focus on if you plan to grow your business and achieve revenue targets, instead I would like to discuss the five key areas in which Marketing and Sales must work together prior to a Lead even being identified.
1. Cross Department Alignment
The best relationships take work, so make time to get to know each other.
- Head out for coffee or an after work drink to learn what motivates your colleagues. Are you a numbers person who easily gets lost in data and analytics? Do you blast “Eye of Tiger” every morning because “it’s the thrill of the fight” you’re chasing when you step into the office? Even if your personalities are opposite, leverage your strengths to help each other achieve your goals.
- Marketing staff should head out with Sales Managers to see how they pitch, and in turn listen to the responses from the prospect to understand how and what will resonate best to articulate your ‘why’.
- Set expectations and realistic timeframes to coordinate your individual working styles.
2. Budget and Revenue Transparency
Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know each other, don’t be coy when it comes to sharing your marketing budget allocations and sales revenue targets. The need to be open and transparent is not only going to break down any walls that may still exist, but will help you determine where to allocate resources and how to get the best “bang for your buck” with your marketing campaigns.
- Allocate your budget across key marketing areas: awareness, content generation, lead generation, events, digital and social. You never know where that next new lead will eventuate from.
- Set your YoY revenue growth expectations. If you aggressively increase your revenue targets from the previous year, you will need to increase your marketing spend commensurately.
- Define what the revenue contribution or pipeline contribution ratios per department should be. This needs to remain static YoY so that you can accurately measure success across departments.
- Make sure you identify the different values between existing/recurring revenue targets and net-new revenue targets. Marketing dollars should primarily focus on acquiring net-new leads so that the business is able to achieve its annual revenue growth target.
3. Audience Identification
Bonding achieved, budgets and targets agreed, it’s now time to work through your target audience identification. Whether vertical, horizontal or both, you need to be clear on you are approaching.
- If you are currently focused on supporting SMBs in your current state or territory, are you ready to compete for the same business in other states? If yes, which ones and why?
- Does your recurring revenue need a boost by targeting the mid-market who will have more money to play with than SMBs?
- Is your team now certified to manage AWS deployments and you plan to offer this service to existing and net-new customers?
There can be multiple audiences you are targeting, just make sure you are working off the same CRM/database and that it has been cleansed with email opt-ins marked. It can also help to allocate accounts to specific Sales Managers or Account Managers so that once a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) has been identified, it is seamlessly handed over to the right person.
While the hygiene of the data in the CRM falls to both Sales and Marketing to manage on a regular basis, it’s best to agree on a minimum level of information to be added per Account and Contact so that marketing can accurately segment the data, and sales can track the opportunities based on the lead source or campaign.
This is where it gets interesting…. conflict can arise on how to communicate your organisation’s offerings to the market, especially when sales and marketing struggle to work together. Another element of complexity can arise when you need to address different value propositions to people at different levels within a business.
- Be clear on who you are targeting and align the messaging accordingly.
- Work together on the external and internal copy, collateral and assets otherwise the discord will filter through and the prospect won’t be able to understand your “why”.
- If necessary, create a technical flyer in conjunction with your business message to attract both the decision maker and their technical lead.
- If you are leveraging a third party agency to manage the lead generation, work together on briefing the agency as they need to be an extension of both your teams.
Marketing may hold the budget, but that doesn’t mean they determine the Go To Market (GTM) strategy alone, or expect Sales to follow blindly along with the campaigns designed. Nor does that mean Sales can assume authority over the budget and adopt guerrilla tactics because they haven’t had a say in how the budget is to be spent.
- Defining your annual marketing spend needs to be carefully considered by the business as a whole.
- Allow your Marketing Manager and/or team to provide the framework based on what has worked in the past, and to suggest new options not previously explored.
- Sales need to offer up new and alternative suggestions if they believe their target audience needs to be approached differently to the proposed ideas.
- Ensure you employ a variety of marketing tactics within each campaign to return a stronger result (ROI).
- Marketing and Sales need to both sign off on the final budget allocation, messaging and tactics.
When the whole business is striving towards a common goal, it makes sense to work in a collaborative fashion, even when your individual role requires different outcomes and experience to others in your team, or those in other departments. Your organisation’s revenue growth and targets rely on this symbiotic relationship, and if you get the mix right, you will also be strengthening your organisational culture and morale.
If you see a divide, no matter how small between your marketing and sales functions, all you need to do is break down the silos, and the teams will thrive. I’ve spent years working closely with Sales and Presales teams to know the value they have added to my career, knowledge base and experiences as a Marketeer. I chose to specialise in one discipline, but I am just as much a Sales person because I don’t believe you can have one without the other.
If you are ready to take the next step and start applying the five key Sales and Marketing integration tactics within your organisation, please contact Radial Consulting so we can run a personalised workshop with your team and design a plan suited to your business needs and outcomes.