This is Part 2 of a series of posts about Aligning Sales and Marketing. Go back to Part 1.
Step 2: Articulate Accountability
Accountability cuts both ways. Marketing is accountable for closing the loop from campaign-to-cash, calculating return on investment based on revenue, not cost-per-lead. Sales is accountable for following up on leads within a reasonable time frame, converting leads into opportunities and eventually customers. While people and process are key, without automation, closing the loop is nearly impossible.
People and Process
The task force must establish guidelines regarding lead feedback response turnaround, which should include sufficient time for sales to reach prospects. Ramifications for not following the guidelines must be clearly articulated. When the sales team has an appreciation for accountability, they will be more likely to provide feedback in a timely manner. Sales management must be responsible for enforcing feedback policies. Your CRM system can help, if activity levels associated with sales leads can be monitored. Information should rollup, providing executives with an overall view of compliance, while enabling sales managers to drill down to determine attainment by region or rep.
Automation will reduce the administrative burden, on sales to provide feedback and on marketing to close the loop. Your CRM system should allow you to use menu options or radio buttons, rather than text fields, to capture feedback, encouraging sales to provide prompt feedback and enabling marketing to conduct fast trend analysis using codified data. Another way to reduce admin burden is empowering salespeople to create quick action automations for lead followup.
A salesperson, for example, should be able to create a quick action to automatically schedule a followup phone call two days after leaving a voicemail. Instead of opening up an activity reminder, selecting the appropriate type of activity, selecting the appropriate date on the calendar, and saving the activity, the salesperson should be able to condense these steps into one quick action – that is, if your CRM system affords this level of automation accessibility for non-IT users.
Turning our attention to marketing, the CRM system should automatically associate leads with campaigns and maintain this relationship through the entire sales process. If your CRM system is intelligent, manual intervention by the sales team will not be required to update campaign source fields in leads or opportunities. Rarely will campaigns be firing on all cylinders. Segmentation, messaging, or source adjustments are typically required to optimize response. Hard data from your CRM system will enable marketing managers to make refinements based on fact, not gut instinct.