The numbers game: how should your business be measuring results?
Businesses globally are starting to realise the importance of aligning their sales and marketing teams. But how exactly can companies make sure that their alignment efforts are working? Traditionally, metrics used to measure marketing effectiveness and sales performance have differed and have been treated separately, but this can lead to crossed wires between both departments. So, is there a better way? Here are four different considerations when monitoring the results reaped by sales and marketing…
1. Are your MQLs converting?
Undoubtedly, tracking Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) conversions is crucial to understanding the success rate of your sales and marketing alignment efforts. By keeping track of how many MQLs are sent over to sales, and how many of them consequently become SQLs, businesses get a good idea of the quality of leads and how well sales converts them. If the sales team sends lots of MQLs back to marketing as unqualified, or that are in need of further nurturing, this is an indicator that new content strategies need to be considered, or that the target audience hasn’t been identified correctly.
Monitoring MQL to SQL conversion ensures that both departments have equal accountability for business performance. Is the sales team using content effectively, and is it qualifying all of the MQLs that the marketing team shares? Is the marketing team listening to what sales needs and keeping the sales funnel stocked with content? If the conversion rate is low, there are major inconsistencies between marketing and sales qualification priorities, which could lead to miscommunication errors in the sales funnel.
2. Breaking the cycle
Did you know that the average B2B sales cycle for a new customer can last half a year? A key aim of any sales and marketing alignment effort is a reduction in length of the sales cycle, allowing businesses to both save time and increase revenue.
The shorter the length of the total sales cycle, the more certain you can be that marketing is producing the most engaging and relevant content and delivering the best possible leads to the sales department. Similarly, you can be sure that sales representatives are effectively using the data provided by marketing to convert deals. The longer the sales cycle, the more negative the consequences for the entire business, signalling disengaged leads and a disconnect between both sales and marketing.
3. Content is (still) king
Content is a crucial part of the evolving, multi-touchpoint sales funnel: without personalised, engaging content, it’s very difficult for leads to move further down the funnel. Good content is created through a joint effort from sales and marketing teams, as marketers create the content that sales teams identify is most required at particular touchpoints.
By measuring metrics like traffic rates for blog posts, search rankings, click-through rates and session durations, it’s possible to see which pieces work and which aren’t converting. If content isn’t engaging with target audiences, it’s possible that there’s a disconnect between the two departments.
4. Money talks
Finally, revenue is key. If sales and marketing alignment is working, the business should see a sharp spike in revenue, as both departments collaborate to optimise the sales funnel. It’s also important to understand exactly how this revenue is generated. This can be done by tracking by lead source – or, in other words, the method by which a person discovered your product or service. Tracking by lead source allows you to see if a specific marketing effort is making a big difference, or if a specific salesperson is contributing the most to revenue. By tracking where exactly revenue comes from, sales and marketing teams can ensure that the best-performing lead channels receive sufficient investment.
While aligning sales and marketing takes time, effort and commitment, the results for the business can be significant. By implementing the correct KPIs, businesses can easily control the entire process, ensuring that both teams work together effectively – and optimise their sales funnel.
Would you like more information about sales and marketing alignment? Download our guide today to discover how tackling misalignment can revolutionise your sales function.