Sales and Marketing – The Evolving Relationship

Sales and marketing are different sides of the same coin. While marketing team’s job is to generate qualified, purchase-ready leads for the sales team, it is the sales team’s job to turn those leads into sales. Although it may seem that both departments have different objectives, in the end, the goal remains the same: marketing to drive sales and generate revenue.

According to research by Marketo and ReachForce, half of sales’ time is spent on unproductive prospecting, with sales ignoring as much as 80% of marketing leads. It’s important to empower the sales team with the right information by the marketing team, and that both teams know exactly when to handover the qualified leads from marketing to sales. Marketers have to prepare the sales team with necessary information and content to add value to existing relationships with leads.

Marketing and sales alignment basically means the process of getting the two teams to work together toward a common goal efficiently.

The Situation:

The sales and marketing departments are different bodies, which causes differences in the following ways:

  • No Common Objectives
  • Misunderstood Goals

Set Common Objectives

Marketing and sales teams work toward the same goals: converting new leads to revenue closure. However, because of the perceived handoff from marketing to sales, this process can seem like two separate stages.

Marketing goals are mostly long-term – which is generating potential sales leads by building a foundation with strong branding and content. It focuses more on scoring and nurturing leads for the long term.

Sales goals, on the other hand, are short term – it’s mostly monthly or quarterly targets to achieve.

Incorporating marketing into sales activities and working closely with the sales team allows marketers to see how they contribute towards the success of the sales team. Marketers can get a better understanding of the impact of lead quality, and sales teams can understand the need to follow up quickly.

Misunderstood Goals

Creating the right goals between marketing and sales is imperative for proper alignment. Defining roles for marketing and sales helps move leads through the funnel more effectively. Defining specific roles ensures that every part of the lead’s journey is accounted for.

Marketing supports revenue goals by generating more qualified leads to pass on to the sales team. It helps to focus on many things, including full-funnel marketing programs, lead nurturing, and analytics. Marketing supports sales enablement through content creation, understanding the sales process, and product and data sheet creation. This team creates valuable and instructive content to help the sales reps and provide materials for lead gen and nurturing.

The Solution:

Create Service-level Agreements

SLAs contribute to another critical part of sales and marketing alignment: making sure no qualified lead is left behind. The SLAs prioritize and assign a time stamp to leads. When marketing passes on a lead, sales teams have a certain window of time before making the first call. Once a given amount of time has elapsed, reps receive a reminder email.

Replace the Sales Funnel with a Revenue Cycle

The traditional sales funnel modeled a process whereby a large audience was sorted down to leads, then prospects, and then finally sales.

Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Is an Evolution of the Traditional Sales Funnel:

  • At the top of the Marketing Funnel (TOFU), your prospects are aware of the brand. This designates when a name has officially entered the database. People move onto the next stage after meaningful engagement.
  • And in the middle of the funnel (MOFU) is where the traditional sales begin. Leads have displayed buying behavior and have engaged with content, making them a potential sales lead. We use lead scoring to determine whether it’s time to reach out. If leads aren’t ready to convert, we start the lead nurturing process. If leads are sales-ready, they are passed on to an account executive.
  • At the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), once leads have reached the bottom of the funnel, they are close to becoming a customer. Leads in this stage are sales-accepted and actively being worked on by the sales team.

Define the Common Terms and Goals

  • Lead Scoring
  • Lead Generation Metrics – MQL, SAL, SQL

Sales Development Representatives

Sales Development Representatives can further help you streamline the sales qualification process and ensure the best results in the handover from marketing to sales. More consistent the follow up on leads better the conversion of leads into opportunities.


Team Position2

December 16, 2016

By Team Position2