It is a topic as old as time itself — how to increase the quality of leads being produced by the marketing team, in order for the sales team to close more deals.
A new commissioned study, released today by ToutApp, tells us that lead quality is still at the top of the list of subjects marketing wants to discuss with the sales team.
In fact, almost half of the 300 marketers surveyed — when asked to identify what they would like to discuss with sales teams the most — agreed on these top four focus areas:
- Lead generation quality and conversion to sales: 46 percent
- How messages are received and questions that arise in their delivery: 40 percent
- Problems leads say that they’re facing in sales conversations: 32 percent
- Competitive companies that come up in sales calls: 27 percent
Leads have always been the most divisive of things and are a major contributor to the constant battle between the marketing and sales teams. Why haven’t we moved on from that in the last 25 years of CRM and sales force automation products?
“Leads are easy to generate,” Tawheed Kader, chief executive and founder of ToutApp told me. “Qualified and engaged leads? That’s a whole other story. Getting in sync around what makes for a sales-ready qualified lead is a step that most marketing and sales organizations skip when defining their go-to-market strategy, which causes misalignment down the line.”
So communication is still the key in bringing sales and marketing closer.
“If marketing and sales can get in crystal clear sync on what makes for a “sales-ready and qualified” lead, then you’re golden,” Kader said. “This is why research shows that companies that prioritize such marketing and sales alignment close more business.”
With that in mind, it is no surprise that among all marketers surveyed, 70 percent said that they want to meet with their sales teams “more frequently” to review and discuss strategy.
Meetings might be something sales and marketing teams want, but is that really a workable solution?
“For sales leaders though, their question always is ‘why aren’t they on phones closing?’,” Kader continued. “The key for successful meetings is to ensure marketing brings to sales clear and actionable bite-sized things that they can employ on the next 5 calls and next 3 sales scenarios. Too often, marketers get caught up on their own Powerpoint slides, their theory, the conceptual and the abstract. They actually lose salespeople in the first 2 minutes because they’re left wondering ‘how does this help me on my next deal?’.”
The research suggests that those who do meet regularly are seeing good, if not stellar, results.
When asked to describe how effective or ineffective intra-team meetings typically are in improving marketing outcomes, 89 percent deemed them “effective.” There was room for improvement, however, with 51 percent citing them as “moderately effective” versus 39 percent “very effective.” Only 11 percent of marketers called marketing and sales team strategy meetings “ineffective.”
The biggest challenge found in the study? The thorny topic of metrics and KPIs.
Marketers believe they “measure success differently” from sales. 25 percent picked this as the biggest hurdle, followed by “my company doesn’t have a system in place for regular meetings” (22%) and “our goals are different” (16%).
Of course, there is a large amount of investment going into sales technology at present, some of which helps marketing and sales become more transparent about those data points. In Q3 2015, sales technology ranked fourth among all marketing technology investments.
For now, it seems that the answer is for sales and marketing teams to meet more often, but do so armed with the right intentions and questions. The full study is available today from ToutApp.