Technology can help us win, but only if we’re clear on what ‘winning’ looks like
A Sales Manager once told me, ‘Salespeople don’t want leads; they want opps’.
As a Marketer whose whole sense of purpose and achievement revolved around serving up a steady stream of MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads), my heart sank.
That was several years ago, but that mismatch of expectations between Sales and Marketing (and Marketing and Sales) persists. Sometimes it feels like a gulf. But what can be done to close the gap?
The answer, it would seem, is a mix of technology, enablement, and cultural realignment.
Let’s start with cultural re-alignment. Marketeers trained stakeholders to value vanity metrics like MQLs, which led to business leaders having a ‘gumball machine’ mentality towards marketing. Penny in, gumball out. Dollars in, new customers out. Neat, simple, and quick.
But we all know this isn’t true. Especially in today’s digitally empowered marketplace, where salespeople are no longer seen as ‘go-to, trusted experts’, marketing is a bit of a dirty word, and buyers have dozens of options to educate themselves.
A move away from MQLs as a meaningful metric to ‘MTs’ (Meaningful Touches – yes, I just made that up) is needed. Those touches can be Marketing instigated (push marketing like emails), Sales initiated (phone calls, networking), Marketing harvested (inbound enquiries, asset downloads, event registrations), or buyer-initiated (web searches and site visits that trigger intent topic alerts). But the point is Sales and Marketing become one engine, dedicated to weaving a web of touch opportunities, cumulatively increasing trust and intrigue, and all monitoring the strength, frequency, and urgency of engagement so the eventual sales conversation opportunity feels like a natural next step for all involved.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
But how do we enable Sales & Marketing so that the shift to ‘Meaningful Touches’ becomes the gold standard for achieving a full and replenishing pipeline? Visibility, and appreciation for what you can see. The days of Marketing ‘chucking leads over the fence’ to Sales need to be gone. A buyer’s journey, especially in B2B tech, is seldom linear, and neither should the generation and treatment of leads be. When Sales & Marketing can see the same information and understand the value of what they’re seeing, everyone will be empowered to take appropriate action to create the next Meaningful Touch. And when Sales can see what Marketing is doing, and Marketing can see what Sales is doing, the ability to dovetail behind each other’s efforts, avoid duplication of effort, and not step on each other’s toes is infinitely more achievable.
So, to technology – the conduit that can give us that visibility, underpin enablement, and empower cultural realignment.
We are about to go live with Dynamics 365 and Customer Insights (Journeys). As part of the project team, I worked side by side with Sales to make sure our shared views and workflows would move us toward a better-enabled Lead and Opp generation engine. On top of that, we mapped out meaningful reporting, intent data capture, coordinated and complementary engagement and nurture strategies, and AI-powered triggers and responses.
Technology – it’s grand. But only if we know what winning looks like and can massage technology to move us towards our goals. I’m confident we’re on the right track and excited about the maturity journey these investments will help us take.
I may never be in a position to hand a million-dollar opportunity to a salesperson, but I think we can create lots of them between us!
Trudi Allerby, General Manager - Brand & Marketing