Sales and marketing alignment: tips for getting it right with lead generation

According to the 2008 Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study, only 37% of respondents agreed that their sales and marketing organizations are aligned in what their customers want and need. I discussed this disconnect with Bill Golder in the February issue of Sales & Marketing Management. You can check out the interview online: Chronicles of a Sales Leader: The Lack of Sales and Marketing Alignment in Organizations Today.

I firmly believe that organizations that perform match readiness of the buyer with expectations of their sales team. The unrealized potential can be likened to the batteries in a flashlight. If the batteries aren’t inserted in the right direction, or are otherwise out of proper contact, their power is unusable. My experience confirms that this communication breakdown affects nine out of ten companies. Bill asked me what advice I would give these organizations that are struggling with alignment. Here are the five tips I shared with him:

1. Sales and Marketing must collaborate on defining leads and marketing objectives. You can make a huge impact by focusing first, on creating an Ideal Customer Profile (company-wide, for each product, service or solution). Then, create the Universal Lead Definition of a “sales-ready lead.” Finally, connect the marketing/sales process to customer’s buying process.
2. What gets measured gets done. Connect sales and marketing metrics together.
3. Create relevant content for each stage of the customer buying cycle.
4. Focus on the data points you REALLY need to measure in your CRM.
5. Clarify your value proposition now! Does your sales team have sales-ready messaging?

In developing a lead generation program, it is incumbent on marketers to view the sales team as the customer. It’s no different than directing a consulting firm project where the client is involved in each stage of the project. The sales team should become so integrated that it has program ownership just like everyone else.

There’s a lot more good info discussed in this interview so be sure to read the full article here. Thanks to Bill and SMM for giving the opportunity to share.

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