In the year that I’ve been with Marketo, I’ve gained some interesting insights into enterprise organizations’ challenges around sales and marketing alignment. My background is fairly unique for an enterprise account executive. Before joining this team, I established and grew marketing divisions for two separate organizations. I’ve also implemented multiple marketing automation systems, the last of which was Marketo. In my previous role, I simultaneously implemented Marketo and Salesforce CRM. This experience taught me a lot because It forced me to create an alignment between the sales and marketing teams, which doesn’t come naturally to most companies.
As part of that process, I found myself continually having conversations with questions like:
- When will a lead get passed off to sales?
- Which factors go into qualifying a lead?
- What opportunity stages should we have?
- What qualifies someone to move from one opportunity stage to the next?
- When should we mark something as closed/lost and pass the contact back off to marketing to nurture and eventually re-qualify?
Even in the relatively short amount of time I’ve been here, I’ve learned that these same types of questions come up across most of the enterprise companies I engage with. What’s even more challenging is that most sales and marketing departments are almost entirely siloed.
In this blog, I’ll explain to you my findings and why I believe that creating a sales and marketing process flow chart will give your organization alignment.
Having learned this, the very first thing I do when engaging with a new prospect is sit down with them to understand how they make money, how they acquire and engage leads, how they pass those leads off to the sales organization, and what happens to the lead after the warm handoff. Nine times out of ten, there’s no efficient processes in place to pass those leads off to sales. And when asked what happens after the handoff, there are quite a few shoulder shrugs. I get a lot of, “You’ll have to talk to our sales team, Alex.”
In prior roles, I’ve solved this issue by creating a visualization that mapped out our sales and marketing flow. I then introduced it to each department, adjusted as needed, and scheduled a joint meeting to gain buy-in from both departments in the same room. Once this was completed, there was absolutely zero confusion as to what was supposed to happen and who was responsible for making it happen. After this was memorialized, people would approach me with questions about processes and all I had to do was ask them if they looked at the flowchart because the answer was probably there. Doing this also stopped people from incorrectly remembering what we all agreed to, which saved everyone a lot of headaches.
Now I’m in a role where I’m advising customers and prospects on how to maximize revenue through engagement.
Guess what? When your sales and marketing teams are aligned, you have the absolute best chance at maximizing revenue.
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This is why I choose to invest the time in visually mapping out their sales and marketing flow on their behalf. Again, I then get buy-in from both departments and we all move forward. It adds significant value 100% of the time, without exception.
Here’s a sample flow I put together for the purpose of this post. This example would be for a B2B software company.
Of course, I could get more detailed and granular, but I think this is a nice representation of what this type of exercise should result in.
Have you done this for your company? If not, why haven’t you? Do you face similar challenges when it comes to attempting to align the sales & marketing teams? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments.