When a lead is ready to buy? How do we know when is the right time to hand them over to sales so that they can close them as a customer? What happens if that contact isn't quite ready yet?
The key is to have tightly aligned sales and marketing processes and a trusting, open relationship between sales and marketing teams. This involves executive "encouragement", visionary thinking and a two-way conversation between sales and marketing ... a surprisingly tough call for some companies.
B2B organisations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth, and 27% faster three-year profit growth (SiriusDecisions)
So why do so many companies admit to a difficult relationship between sales and marketing?
I don't believe it's about the people!
It's more about the data systems and processes..
Traditionally, problems like mistrust have arisen because sales and marketing are working with disparate systems, data and processes. At a basic level, it's really difficult to form a complete picture of any contact when the information about contacts is spread across CRM, email marketing, website and other systems.
Using tools such as HubSpot as part of an Inbound Marketing and Sales Strategy to attract visitors and nurture leads, is a great start. There is a single contact database shared by sales and marketing, and a single set of criteria for reporting success.
But whilst a single database is a fundamental part of the solution, we meet many companies who still have a way to go to improve relationships between sales and marketing to the extent that they are actually working together to common goals.
I met a company recently who has used HubSpot for over two years. They had set up integration into Salesforce so that leads are passed from HubSpot to Salesforce at the right time.
Contact data is synchronised so that sales get the full information about website visits, email clicks and other actions made by each contact.
That's great - so what was the problem?
Whilst the marketing team work really hard to generate leads, the lead management process is broken. Lead reporting was from Salesforce and there was no feedback to marketing about success.
Marketing can't work out which activities perform the best.
Sales think that marketing don't generate "good" leads.
Marketing worries about whether leads are being followed up.
Nobody has a clean definition of what a "good" lead looks like.
The solution is twofold:
- get the integration fixed so that marketing can see the true results and optimise their activities accordingly
- get sales and marketing sharing other information:
- objections at the sales stage can be used to feed content marketing
- sales people can help improve social sharing amongst their LinkedIN groups
- marketing can help sales signpost opportunities to events and other marketing assets that will help progress existing deals
You get the picture..
Ultimately, aligned processes and teams means that marketing are passing leads that are qualified and delivered to sales at exactly the right time – not too early in the process or they will be unwilling to buy, and not leaving it too late that they have lost interest or find a different solution. Sales on the other hand should be keeping marketing informed about the sales process – objections they face, new competitors, questions typically asked by prospects. Marketers can then use this information when developing content in order to attract the right people in future.
Sales should feed back information about poorly qualified leads and lost opportunities, so that marketing can improve the content that forms part of their the lead nurturing process as well as having more detailed insight into exactly when a lead is ready to be handed over.
Having a tool like HubSpot is a huge advantage. Once lead definitions are agreed, lead nurturing workflows are defined and sales handover processes are created, HubSpot automation can be implemented to encapsulate those agreements and create the sales and marketing machine.
There are 3 key features of these sales and marketing tools that provide the means to improve relationships between sales and marketing teams:
1 - Advanced Contact Database
In HubSpot, every lead stored in the system gets a contact record -- a rich profile that aggregates all known information about the lead in one place. Every one of your lead’s historical interactions with your brand are shown in chronological order on the timeline. The timeline makes it easy for a sales rep to research the history of a lead, to understand their journey and their most recent interests or points of engagement with your brand.
When sharing lead intelligence with your sales team, you want to build as much transparency as possible into the process. You can set up a specific “sales rep” user role that allows them to view a lead’s activity if you choose to give them access. Sales reps can access this view for any lead either by logging into HubSpot or by clicking through to a specific lead from an integrated CRM system.
2 - Synchronisation with CRM Systems
When a lead is finally ready to be reviewed by your sales team, you’ll want an easy and streamlined hand-off between marketing and sales. If your organisation uses a CRM system, the transfer process may be as simple as pushing the lead from your marketing system to your CRM system – just make sure to include all of the lead intelligence you’ve collected along the way. In HubSpot, it’s easy to set up rules that control when a lead gets transferred to your CRM system.
You can choose to make your Sales Qualified Lead criteria as simple or as complex as you’d like. You may determine that a lead is ready to be handed to sales based on metrics such as lead score, or as a result of one or more key actions, such as a lead downloading a pricing sheet, to control when they are channeled into your CRM system.
3 - Lead Notifications
Even after a lead has been handed off to your sales team, there are still things marketers can do to increase the likelihood that your sales team will successfully close the lead.
For example, you may want to notify the lead owner whenever a lead takes a key action, like visiting your pricing page (which is often a key indicator of sales-readiness), or downloading a relevant piece of content.
With HubSpot’s Workflows tool, this is easy to do. You can easily set criteria used to notify the lead owner, or any other relevant individual in your organisation, when a lead takes a key action. The notification email can also be customised to look exactly how you want it, and to include any details about the lead stored in your database.
In conclusion, HubSpot enables sales and marketing teams to communicate and collaborate better and achieve greater success as a result.
What's next for you then?
- Want to take a look at HubSpot? We'll take you under the covers and demonstrate how it can help you align your sales and marketing and drive pipeline growth. Book a demo now >
- Want to learn how to improve your company’s sales and marketing alignment? Book your Sales and Marketing team on Intellegentia's HubSpot CRM workshop for HubSpot Users.
- Want to hear more about improving the relationship between sales and marketing? watch our webinar where Dan Tyre (the father of "Smarketing") speaks about how he improved sales and marketing processes at HubSpot, resulting in considerable revenue growth.