How to do the impossible: keep your remote sales & marketing teams aligned

About the author: Brian Skipper has lead ADRs, global processes, and RevOps at SLI Systems and LeanData. He has worked to build end to end process for sales teams and the connecting technologies. 

When your outbound isn’t performing as well as you want it to, what tends to happen? Fingers start pointing, right?

Marketing says to Sales, “I’ve given you so many leads and you haven’t done anything with them...” while Sales says, in so many words, “the leads you’ve given me are crap.”

So how do we figure out where the problem lies, along with our best avenue for fixing it, without the fruitless internal conflict?

How to close the communication loop between Sales & Marketing

In order for Sales & Marketing teams to communicate effectively, 3 things need to be firmly in place:

1. Sales must follow up with campaign leads that come from marketing (remember: every lead is money spent.)

2. These follow-ups must be personalized to each unique persona using content that is recommended by Marketing.

3. Sales must accurately report Lead Statuses back to Marketing so that Marketing knows where their leads ended up—this is where the nuance comes in.

While this all sounds simple on the surface, the art is in the execution. Your process must be well thought out and aligned from followup to outreach to feedback.

Since this approach can bridge the disparity between sales & marketing and give you quicker access to actionable data, it’s worth putting some serious thought into.

Align Sales & Marketing teams with actionable data

At any point in time, you should be able to access your CRM and see the Lead Status of any campaign member.

Are they:

- Known to the database

- A Prospect (who has performed some action)

- A Marketing Qualified Lead (who has performed specific actions)

- A Sales Accepted Lead (who Sales has reached out to)

- A Sales Qualified Lead (who has been vetted by a sales development rep)

- An Opportunity

On top of that, perhaps more importantly, you’ll want to have each lead tagged with a reason WHY they were a) advanced to the next lead stage or b) disqualified.

Were they a bad fit because:

- They were the wrong persona

- They wanted to realign at a later point in time

- They didn’t have the budget, etc.

Were they a good fit because:

- They resonated with a certain pain point that the product solves

- They were interested in a specific value proposition

- They passed you on to a more appropriate contact, etc.

With this level of feedback being accurately reported, it can help Marketing determine what’s working and what isn’t. Was their Linkedin campaign improperly targeted? Did their webinar not yield results? Should they double down on a certain persona?

These lead statuses give you the ability to pull up data in a meeting and say, “here are the numbers from the last campaign. We had 2,000 leads and we got an opportunity with 5% of them, and we disqualified 25% for this reason.”

If you’re looking for a way to connect Sales & Marketing efforts with results, try getting more granular with your data.

Create a culture of adhering to process to get actionable data

Without the actionable data we’re talking about here, you’re stuck making important sales & marketing decisions based on feelings alone.

If Sales suggests that a particular piece of marketing collateral was no good, are they able to easily show that with data, or does it come down to hearsay?

If Marketing feels that Sales didn’t follow their recommendations for a certain persona, what does the data say?

If a particular campaign worked well, are you able to immediately understand why it worked so you can replicate it, or does someone have to spend time digging into it first?

Closing the loop between Sales & Marketing in the way I’ve outlined here aligns both teams under a single, unified strategy. It creates a data-driven way for the two teams to communicate productively, to drive ever closer to an optimized sales process instead of zigzagging back and forth without any real certainty.

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