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Lead Generation- Why Sales and Marketing Alignment Are a Must

January 15, 2018
By Special Guest
Alexander Kesler -


Sales and marketing alignment is critical to lead generation success. According to Marketing Profs, aligning these two departments can lead to a 36 percent increase in customer retention rates and 38 percent higher sales win rates.

However, the business case for sales and marketing alignment goes even further than ROI. Not only are internally aligned organizations more profitable and efficient, they also provide a better workflow for employees. With alignment comes greater clarity, better understanding of company strategies, and an improved perception of one’s job and colleagues.


While the benefits are bountiful, achieving a synergistic relationship between sales and marketing is often challenging even in the most productive companies. Here are five best practices to create a winning lead generation strategy that aligns sales and marketing.

Define Key Concepts

Effective alignment should begin with the basics – defining the common lead generation concepts, such as lead statuses and stages, that your teams will use. The marketing department may define a qualified lead or an opportunity one way, while the sales department may see it differently. Lack of clear and consistent definitions is one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when aligning marketing and sales teams.

Lead status and other terms are contingent on the product or service’s sales cycle. When defining terms, teams must make sure they are referring to the same sales model and then begin to map out concepts accordingly. Some examples of key terms that need to be clearly defined are:

• unqualified lead,

• prospect/qualified lead,

• marketing qualified lead,

• sales qualified lead, and

• opportunity.

There are no standard definitions for lead generation terms. Some companies only use MQLs, SQLs, and opportunities, while others have more granular categories to track leads even more precisely.

Outline Shared KPIs

Establishing shared KPIs early on allows teams to work together toward common goals. The teams that succeed at aligning sales and marketing are those that agree upon what is important to jointly measure and commit to holding themselves accountable for their actions.

To create shared KPIs, determine which metrics are actionable and impact your organization’s bottom line. Common KPIs include percentage of annual revenue, lead volume, lead quality, and customer lifetime value; however, there are several other metrics you can measure. Regardless of which metrics you chose, remember to start by tracking just a few important KPIs, as measuring multiple can be overwhelming.

Create a Joint Content Strategy

Given that the sales team is directly communicating with the market daily, it can offer unique insights into what gets people excited, what prospects need to know before they can proceed to the next stage in the sales cycle, and what buyers want to get from the product or service the company is selling. Therefore, creating a joint content strategy is crucial to lead generation success.

The goal of this synergistic approach is to ensure that both the sales and marketing teams understand what the content need is, where the gaps in collateral are, and what compelling content looks like. To develop integrated content and a campaign framework aligned to the buyer’s journey, you should begin by defining your buyer personas and customer journey in stages. Once you’ve mapped out your personas and customer journey, you can start documenting your content plan. This plan allows sales and marketing to determine when and how to use the content, where to find it, and how to measure its success.

When creating a plan, it’s integral to coordinate the scheduling of content campaigns. Marketers are constantly promoting several types of content and offers, so the sales team needs to be aware of what their leads are seeing.

Introduce Lead Scoring and Improve the Lead Handoff Process

Agreeing on the proper way to score leads is not only a fundamental business practice, but it’s a key component in achieving marketing and sales alignment. Implementing a lead scoring system enables marketers to evaluate how prepared a lead is to be sent to sales and be converted into a paying customer. Points are assigned based on behavioral data (actions taken) with a certain aim to be reached before a visitor is passed on to the sales team.

There are a variety of ways you can score leads, including:

• demographic scoring,

• asset scoring,

• behavior scoring, and

• product interest scoring.

Once lead scoring is in place, the teams can fine-tune the lead handoff process. Just as sales and marketing must agree on lead scoring, they must also agree on lead handoff – when and how that lead gets sent to sales. Creating an effective lead handoff method allows for a smooth passage from marketing to sales, and timely follow-up on ripe leads.

A Synergistic Approach to Lead Generation

Aligning sales and marketing teams involves a fundamental change in operations. While it may sound daunting, this shift can significantly alter the quantity and quality of deals and improve internal processes and communications.

To ensure that your sales and marketing teams function in a dynamic and fluid way, you should host regular meetings or check-ins. This will allow you to make spontaneous improvements based on shared KPIs and goals.

About the Author: Alexander Kesler is the founder and president of INFUSEmedia (http://infusemedia.com).




Edited by Mandi Nowitz



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