I’ve talked to and worked with many, many marketing directors over the years, and it amazes me how little the marketing and sales departments talk to each other. And if they do, analytics are rarely exchanged, let alone discussed. Why the gap? CEO’s seem to be more concerned with the numbers from their sales team. And that makes sense. Obviously there’s a direct correlation between sales and gross revenue. But… and here’s the big but… how is the sales team getting their leads? Are you, the marketing director, working with your sales team for the assist and dunk? Typically, no. And this leads to small, unaccounted-for marketing budgets and sales teams who are working way too hard to find their own leads. So here are a few tips on how sales and marketing work together.
1. Your website—make sure it aids the sales process. In our project kick-off brand consult meeting, we always identify the client’s process in working with their clients and what their sales process consists of before becoming a client or customer. Most of the time, our clients say they’ve never gotten asked that when in the trenches of web design before. You need to be designing your website around your sales process in order to connect the dots between sales and marketing. I know it seems obvious, but so often this huge detail is overlooked. Ask yourself these questions—what qualifies someone as a lead? What information does a sales person typically have to share with a prospect before they become a hot lead? What questions do prospects typically ask? Include this information in a prominent place on your website. Make sure that the call-to-action (what you want someone to do in order to qualify themselves as a lead) on your website is clear at all times. Does your sales team typically have 30 min free calls or demos with their prospects? Then add an appointment scheduling tool to your website that’s attached to your sales team’s calendar, making this process as automated as possible.
2. Measure your conversion rates to analyze the amount of quality leads you’re handing off to the sales team. Typically marketing directors look at just the total traffic to a website and total social media followers and likes. These numbers alone tell you nothing about the number of leads you’re bringing in through your efforts. This is no one’s fault—usually these are the only numbers that the CEO cares about, mostly due to their lack of reading up on the latest trends in digital marketing, which they don’t have time for. So what should you be measuring as a marketing director? For starters, measure traffic and conversions at every point of your funnel and where those conversions come from. For example, if you’re promoting a webinar on Twitter, you first want to create a unique tracking URL for that webinar landing page (i.e. the page where people will be signing up for your webinar) and use that link when posting to Twitter. That way you can measure specifically how many people clicked on that landing page from Twitter and subsequently how many people signed up for the webinar, how many people joined the webinar, and then how many people took the next step from the webinar to sign up for a free consult or demo with your sales team. The number of contacts who took the next action per step divided by the total number of people who went onto the next step is your conversion rate. You’ll want to monitor your conversion rate at every step of the process.
Once you have your baseline conversion rates, you can start testing the messaging of your campaigns, the quality of the content, the channels where the conversions come from, etc. Discuss your conversion rates with your sales team and optimize your website and campaigns appropriately. Together, you may start to see trends like the best converting leads all coming from Twitter or a particular webinar. Also, if you can prove that you’re delivering more and more qualified leads, but your sales team isn’t converting the leads on their end, this may point to a problem with the sales process. If the number and quality of leads you’re generating through online efforts continue to go up, you can also make the case to your boss for upping the marketing budget. And maybe even getting a raise.
As a side note, there are several programs out there that allow you to create tracking urls for your campaigns and measure the amount of contacts at each step. We use Ontraport, which has been a user-friendly and affordable platform for us and our clients. You can also set up tracking links through the Google Analytics URL Builder.
3. Meet with your sales team regularly to discuss your prospects’ pain points and objections to the sale. Unfortunately with marketing, you’re probably not talking to your leads and customers every day. But your sales team is. They can tell you what questions they’re getting asked the most. They can tell you what their struggles are and the common causes for them not buying. You absolutely, 100% need this info in order to write successful campaigns—i.e. website and landing page copy, social media posts, blog posts, emails, etc. You always want to write specifically to your prospect’s pain points and objections, showing them that you understand them and know how to help. So take advantage of that after-work happy hour or team lunch outing. Let your sales team know that you value their input and really want to know what people are saying. You also want to know about the good stuff—i.e. what IS working. You’ll also want to be communicating with the customer service team at your company to gather good reviews and testimonials to use in your campaigns.
Take these three tips to heart, and I assure you that overall revenue will start to increase, and you’ll get the recognition you deserve. Plus, you’ll get to play a huge part in growing the company and not just be the guy or gal that designs pretty emails and sends out company newsletters. Already practicing some of these principles? Well, pat yourself on the back because you’re in the minority. Continue to identify how you can get even more granular and efficient at some of these tasks. And most importantly, have fun. When thinking about how sales and marketing work together, remember that in marketing, you get to be creative AND share in the joy of the company’s success.
Want to take this one step further and get more tips on how to generate leads from your website? Download our guide here.