Dealmaking 2.0: Aligning Sales and Marketing for Successful Sales Pipeline Acceleration

Transitions are tough. The good news, though, is that a successfully managed transition aligning sales and marketing departments leads to a full scale customer relationship management (CRM) model and sales pipeline acceleration.

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The customer view

These days, typical potential clients rely on the web and social media to seek out business solutions. Customers seek out company information, company reputation, company customer service—not salesforce services. We know, for example, of one customer who emailed the CEO at a mobile telephone network provider, and got a return email from him that same day along with a call from the head of customer service. They made sure that customer knew the sale was important to them in ways that this customer preferred.

In the current customer-led environment, sales pipeline acceleration is an uphill battle. Just ask yourself:

  • Does our marketing team really know how to identify a hot lead for the salesforce?
  • Is our CRM system getting the sales team past the initial contact? Does our current CRM system manage all aspects of CRM or simply identify potential customers?
  • How much time does our salesforce spend preparing for sales contacts? Are they connecting with potential customers in ways the customers prefer, such as online? Are the connections easy or cumbersome?
  • Most important—after the initial contact with a potential customer, how do we determine if, when, and how to follow up? What if we could reduce that time and still close more deals?

The business view

In a B2B world dominated by high tech solutions, sales pipeline acceleration is the bottleneck to successful revenue generation. So what is the solution?

It is essential to align marketing and sales objectives and initiatives to unclog that pipeline. Marketing has to get better at understanding the salesforce’s needs, and the salesforce has to get better at communicating their needs to marketing in order for sales pipeline acceleration to occur. Here’s why.

According to CRM Search, “CSO Insights 2013 Sales Management Optimization research found that the average win rate (of forecasted sale opportunities) was 44.7%, with the remainder of lost forecasted opportunities broken down as 30.5% losses and 24.8% as no decision.” The opportunity for improvement is significant.

Why is that gap so significant? CRM Search calls “lead leakage” the number one place to look. Second is “pursuing unqualified leads or leads that can’t be won.”

Reducing lead leakage

CRM Search says,“Implementing a lead scoring model reduces lead leakage.” A lead scoring model shared by the salesforce and marketing departments would significantly reduce the marketing department’s turning over unlikely prospects, and the salesforce’s time spent in chasing unproductive leads.

Pursuit of unproductive leads

Not only will this activity reduce productivity and revenue, and waste time, it also will impact the sales team’s motivation and drive. Addressing this issue is key to a company’s successful sales pipeline acceleration. The two biggest factors in addressing this are:

  • aligning the objectives and initiatives of the marketing and sales departments; and
  • turning to the right tool that will enhance the customers’ experience with your company, and at the same time, allow your company to learn about its customers’ current interests and needs.

Make it one team

Ensuring that marketing and sales are working hand-in-glove as two sides of the same coin—the path to revenue generation—means that sales will get leads that more often turn into real customers, and marketing will get real time information on customers to target.

Only an “integrated business development function,” as CRM Search labels it, leads to sales pipeline acceleration—the ability to generate appropriate leads and the necessary follow-throughs to close deals more often.

The right tool

Consider turning to Fileboard, an online presentation management system that addresses sales pipeline acceleration issues, saving time and enhancing the experience for both the customer and the company’s teams. To learn how to accelerate deals across your pipeline, please contact us.