6 Steps for Sales and Marketing Alignment
Step 1: Agree on what a qualified lead looks like.
Step 2: Set metrics for the number of qualified leads that need to be generated.
Step 3: Gain agreement from sales, and especially sales management, on the level of lead follow up that can be expected. That is, if marketing sends leads to sales that meet the definition of qualified, sales will follow up within a specified timeframe.
Step 4: Put together a consistent, solid marketing plan that will allow you to reach your goals. This is obviously a much more complex discussion than can be covered in one step, but for the purposes of an alignment discussion, this is sufficient.
Step 5: Measure your marketing efforts and report on the numbers. Sales is always under the microscope. Marketing should be too.
Step 6: Do regular debriefs on the qualified leads generated so you know whether you are truly generating qualified leads as agreed and so that you know whether sales is following up as agreed.
Although not necessarily part of the sales and marketing alignment, it makes sense to give another nod to a solid nurturing program. If you are only giving qualified leads to sales, you need to do something with the other leads that didn’t quite meet the definition. A nurturing program can help you capitalize on these leads and turn them into future opportunities for far less than it costs you to generate them the first time around.