Improve Marketing and Sales Alignment with Metrics

Posted by John Veckerelli on Tue, Jul 29, 2014

Keep It Simple with Key Metrics

In our previous post, we discussed some ways that your marketing and sales teams can work together to improve lead generation and lead follow-up. In this post we'll talk about how a few key metrics and the right automation tools can keep these activities on track. 

Tracking the success of your lead generation efforts can be complicated, especially if you don’t have solid metrics or a well-defined process. Be prepared for some trial and error as you work to refine the criteria and reporting. Ideally, you’ll want to track metrics by piggy-backing on existing lead capture and management processes. We recommend focusing on a few select lead generation metrics such as:

  1. Total leads (by source, campaign or event)
  2. Rank order (A, B, C or numerical lead score)
  3. Lead-to-customer conversion rate (how many actually buy)
  4. Average time a lead spends in the pipeline (making sure leads are acted on)

Using a CRM like Salesforce or marketing automation platform such as HubSpot can help you keep track of these metrics and facilitate cooperation between marketing and sales. HubSpot describes the value this way:

“By integrating two systems such as HubSpot and Salesforce, you can see the entire lifecycle of visitor to a customer. With this closed-loop integration, Sales is able to track the online behaviors of their leads to make what would have been a cold call into a warm call. And Marketing can get a better understanding of where their best leads come from, meaning which types of leads will most likely convert into paying customers. Marketing can then better allocate their time and resources to maximize their ROI effectively.”

If you use a CRM:

 

1. Modify lead status settings (open, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, opportunity, etc.) to be consistent with the definitions upon which sales and marketing agreed.

lead generation, lead scoringOnce both teams have coordinated these definitions, as well as their target customer personas, a next step is to set up a more sophisticated lead scoring system for further classification. A scoring system will assign points to contacts based on two types of criteria:

  1. Actions the person takes on your site, such as filling out a form, viewing a particular page, and clicking emails
  2. Pre-existing qualifications such as company size, job title, or industry that are consistent with your persona(s)

To gain a better understanding of where a potential customer is in the buying cycle, Pardot recommends distinguishing between actions that indicate interest (e.g. downloading an eBook) vs. those that might indicate intent to buy (e.g. viewing a pricing page). Intent activities should be given higher scores. Leads with the highest scores (i.e. the most qualified) can be passed on to sales for follow-up, while those with lower scores, who are interested but not yet looking to buy, should be left to marketing for nurturing.

By identifying leads that are ready for a sales interaction and that match the description of your ideal buyer, you can save your sales team considerable time and effort. Plus, Salesforce says, “your sales team will be much happier knowing that the leads they’re getting from marketing are being subjected to standards that they help set up.”

 

2. Update any automatic notifications for new leads or changes in lead status to ensure they are being sent to the appropriate internal recipient(s).

You’ve established the process for qualifying leads for sales or marketing follow-up, and now you’ll want to make sure that that follow-up actually happens. Here are few helpful steps:

  1. Check that you have marketing and salespeople’s current, correct email addresses in your CRM.
  2. Determine any specific ways that leads should be divided and distributed, such as by industry or a particular service requirement.
  3. Find out what details about leads sales will need, or how they prefer to receive this information. For example, some CRMs allow users see a list of the most active prospects, or receive notifications about specific lead actions, as ClickZ discusses. Talk to sales to decide which types of notifications will work best. 

 

3. Report lead status weekly and meet regularly.

Although automation can make a huge difference to marketing and sales effectiveness, it is not an exact science. It’s a good idea to schedule regular meetings between marketing and sales to re-evaluate your criteria and processes. Has the quality of leads being sent to sales improved? Has sales been able to close more deals? Does marketing have a better idea of what types of nurturing and content their leads require? Make small adjustments to the process as needed, then test and re-examine it again in another month or two.

 

Looking to try a marketing automation platform? Already using HubSpot and looking to get more out of it? Learn more about Inbound Marketing with HubSpot. Launch Team is a Certified Partner.

 

Topics: Business Insights, Inbound Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Metrics, Sales, Marketing and Sales Alignment