This is the third post in our series on increasing alignment between sales and marketing. In part 1 of this series, Susan Tormollen and Jim laid out five initiatives that you could establish to tighten the alignment between sales and marketing:
I have lost my wing-man, as Susan is in the middle of a job change and a city change. But I’ll continue the series in a text copy of the dialogue Susan and I had as we were building this piece of the series. Here goes:
Our second initiative involves the marketing and sales executives collaborating to create an integrated set of metrics
By bringing sales and marketing together to create metrics, it ensures both organizations are laser-focused on the same goals and marching to the same drummer. But, building these metrics requires three things:
1) agreement and alignment on the objectives, both short and long term, 2), a common language, and finally 3) shared service level agreements to be very clear what we will do for each other
The days of sales being only focused on short-term revenue goals and marketing being focused on long-term branding are gone, thank goodness. Yet, there are still many short term realities. The most immediate goal for both sides is the need for sales teams to meet quota. Looking longer term, sales and marketing must take the broader perspective, to map and support the full customer experience with our product or service.
Once the sales and marketing leaders are aligned, they can begin to develop the metrics needed to ensure that all objectives are aligned and metrics are in place for measuring success. Examples of shared metrics include: short term revenue growth; new logo goals, and lead generation,hand-over, and qualification metrics.
To ensure success, both teams need to use a consistent language for the sales process. When one team speaks of “opportunities”, the other team must know precisely what that means. For example, does everyone understand precisely what an MQL (Marketing qualified lead) is? What criteria are required for that lead to become an SQL (Sales qualified lead)? What does “nurture” mean and who owns which parts of it?
Which brings us to Service Level Agreements, or SLAs. Sales and marketing must be precise in understanding the process in which leads, and feedback, go through the system. For example, marketing must get a lead into sales’ hand within 24 hours. Sales must follow up on the lead within 24 hours.
Along with an agreement of when and how hand-offs occur, building accountability and governance in to the process is essential for long-term success.
Susan, what do you think are the critical actions at this point?
Take the time to be very clear on roles and responsibilities. Beyond the metrics and agreements, sales and marketing must work together to clearly articulate each organization’s responsibilities and then build individual performance measurements based on these responsibilities.
Most importantly, sales and marketing executives must sit down to evaluate how both sides are performing against their performance and service level goals.
As we all know, performance objectives strongly influence behavior.
So here are the five questions we invite you consider and discuss, when creating an integrated set of metrics: [supporting images for each question]
- Have you identified which objectives should be shared between sales and marketing?
- Have you established a common language?
- Are SLAs in place?
- Do you need training materials and communications habits (e.g. coffee talks) to ensure new team members understand the common language, SLAs and processes?
- How will you drive acceptance and commitment?
That’s it for this post! We hope you’ll continue the discussion with responses to the post.
In our next post, we’ll explore the second strategic initiative, which deals with creating an integrated set of metrics for the strategic alliance between marketing and sales.
So this is Jim and Susan signing off, and reminding you, that…. It’s not just about the numbers!