Through these special blog postings, our goal is to offer advice and insights from top B2B marketers. If you're not already familiar with her, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Debbie Qaqish, principal, The Pedowitz Group. She has more than 30 years of sales and marketing experience, leading multiple B2B companies to sustained revenue growth and profitability. Enjoy!
1.) Do you think silos still exist between marketing and sales teams?
Absolutely. Every study still shows this gap, and certainly every client we work with still struggles with this chasm. It's evident in the lack of common definition of a lead between sales and marketing. I would estimate that approximately 80 percent of all companies lack this common definition. It's also evident in the way a lead is passed to sales and how that lead is worked--or not worked. Sirius Decisions notes that approximately 70 percent of all leads passed to sales are not worked, and a large majority of those non-worked leads actually go on to make a purchase. Marketing automation and demand generation as tools and processes are finally bringing to the table a way for this alignment to take place.
2.) What strategy have you seen work the best for connecting sales and marketing teams?
As simple as it sounds, it's communication. I was recently talking to Ed Thompson at Brainshark, and we were talking about this exact topic. Here are three best practices we discussed:
1. You should run email campaigns from corporate, but you should also run campaigns specifically for:
a. A major accounts program--what better way to get a sales rep aligned with marketing than to help them prospect what they're responsible for delivering?
b. Territory account reps
2. Develop lead scoring WITH sales
a. Sales knows the questions to ask to qualify. The net of this exercise is you get a great lead-scoring program and because sales helped build it, they feel ownership to help make it work
3. Work with sales to create a common set of lead definitions and ways to pass and handle the lead
3.) What metrics have you seen work best for tracking and measuring the ROI of lead management programs?
How many campaigns you launch and how many opens and click-throughs you get is important. However, what your CEO cares about is how many marketing-qualified leads got passed to sales and what percent converted to opportunities and then to closed business? It's this focus on revenue-generating activities and metrics that's the key to success. We recently published a white paper--"Metrics That Matter" that includes a chart of the most commonly tracked metrics.
4.) If you were going to do only one thing, what part of a B2B lead management program would you implement (demand generation, lead scoring, lead nurturing, ROI measurement)?
You need to include all of these elements to be successful. At the same time, we see demand generation marketers implementing these competencies in phases. What's important is to have this mapped out. Implementing a marketing automation system including tracking and email is often Phase I. Adding lead scoring and CRM integration is often Phase II, and adding lead nurturing is often Phase III. Metrics vary across the phases depending on the capabilities.