A common concern business owners lament when first we meet is that there are not enough sales leads and they don’t understand why. They may be achieving their revenue goals, but they aren’t adding new clients. There are opportunities in the pipeline, but there aren’t enough, or the ones they have are the wrong size.
There is so much frustration and pain in their voices as they share all that they’ve tried. They have a salesperson. They are doing some marketing. They are investing and investing, but still there aren’t enough sales leads. Do they need sales training? Should they add more marketing services?
You may be experiencing the same issue.
Why is there a lack of leads?
The Sales and Marketing Symptoms
Immediately you begin to diagnose where the issue lies.
- Marketing isn’t generating marketing qualified leads.
- Sales isn’t prospecting.
- Sales doesn’t follow up on marketing leads.
- The leads aren’t large enough companies.
- The list is bad.
- The salesperson doesn’t understand our industry.
- You’ve entered a new market.
- You have a high-end solution.
These are all symptoms of the real issue. You can address each symptom on its own, or you can step back and address the root cause.
The Root Cause Behind Not Enough Leads
The real problem is that Sales and Marketing are operating in silos from each other. They are the basis of your revenue generation system, yet they aren’t in sync unless you’ve been intentional about combining them.
Consider these 3 scenarios.
1. Sales and marketing planning are done separately.
Most business owners think of sales and marketing as separate business functions with distinct processes. You design marketing plans with company objectives in mind. You write sales plans with sales objectives in mind.
Whether you are the one crafting both plans, or there are two different people doing it, you aren’t considering the impact of one on the other. From the very beginning, Sales and Marketing are operating in silos.
2. Marketing is focused on activities.
Marketing is busy running activities to build visibility for the company, generate awareness, and drive interest to increase conversions. It expects your salesperson to subscribe to your marketing campaigns, read its content, and pay attention to social posts.
But your rep isn’t aware what campaigns are running and they never read your blog. They don’t know what events are scheduled until the date is nearly upon them. Your rep may not even know what resources are available on your website that they could use in sales activities.
3. Sales is focused on selling.
Sales hears the business issues prospects and clients are grappling with and the solutions they need right now. They know which target markets are buying, and which ones are cooling. They are busily focused on moving as many opportunities through the pipeline as possible and ignore your marketing campaign emails.
Until your marketing coordinator pings them, your salesperson isn’t aware of the follow-up activities expected of them, let alone having scheduled time to complete them.
When you focus on the symptoms without solving the root cause, your results may improve temporarily, but the problems will return.
Why Sales and Marketing Silos Negatively Impact Leads
When Sales and Marketing are operating in silos, neither are operating efficiently and there are not enough leads.
- There is no opportunity for knowledge transfer.
- Potential leads are wasted.
- Inbound and outbound conversion rates are lower.
- Win rates are lower.
Is it more effective if a business owner is responsible for both sales and marketing?
No. Even if you, as the owner, are responsible for both roles, when you are thinking of them separately, you are hurting your business. It’s not intentional on your part. You’re probably busy. You’re meeting and strategizing on a regular basis with your digital marketing team, like us, who is managing marketing for you. Then you blissfully head off to do your sales activities. Marketing is handled.
If you don’t consciously think about the 2 together:
- Lead follow-up is dropped.
- Knowledge transfer to improve marketing content and sales strategy never happens.
- Marketing content isn’t leveraged to improve qualification and increase win rates.
- Money is wasted.
When you tightly align sales and marketing:
They operate efficiently and become one system working together. Intentional marketing, consistent selling, and efficient optimization are your revenue generation system. That’s when you begin to generate more leads.
Sales and Marketing Alignment: A Case Study
Let’s examine a company that has experienced more than 35% year-over-year revenue growth at the end of their second year of intentional sales and marketing alignment.
A proven organizational structure
As a small B2B company, your sales structure may include one or more salespeople, or you may be the salesperson. What’s important is that you have someone who is focused on outbound prospecting to cold call and convert marketing leads. (This will be someone with hunter sales skills.) You also have someone who will work opportunities through the sales process.
Your marketing may be outsourced to a company like us. You may have a marketing coordinator or manager. You may be the person responsible for marketing. It’s very common to have a combination of an outsourced company like us and a staff marketer. The key is that there is a person who is managing and maintaining a consistent focus on marketing.
How Alignment Happens
The company in our case study has one part-time appointment setter, one full-time salesperson, and outsourced marketing (That’s us.). The business owner is involved with all 3. In addition, the marketing and sales teams communicate.
The appointment setter alerts the marketing team what types of leads are converting. The salesperson alerts the appointment setter what meetings were the best. Marketing keeps the appointment setter and salesperson apprised of upcoming campaigns and gets their input for future activities.
It’s a synchronous system that allows for quick adjustments by any of the 3.
Were the results immediate? They were not. Aligning two typically siloed teams and business processes takes time and discipline.
Did they have to wait 2 full years to realize results? They did not.
The company closed new accounts and saw revenue grow each year. There was progress. Marketing began building visibility, and the company gained recognition and awareness in their target markets. Customers were communicated with more regularly. Sales and marketing alignment systems and processes were put in place. Measurements and accountability were established – and followed.
Sustained Progress: 35% year-over-year growth
At the end of year 2, the company has grown over 35% year-over-year. They have grown in both new accounts and existing clients. Client attrition is minimal.
Neither the marketing nor sales budget has increased significantly.
The company’s success is due to the alignment of 2 highly skilled teams and one business owner who is focused on their integration. Halfway through year 3, their growth continues steadily at a manageable pace for the whole team.
Can you achieve these results?
Yes. This case study is not an anomaly. When Sales and Marketing are working together in a company, the results are consistent and real.
You’re probably wondering why more business owners don’t do this when they could experience 35% growth rates. The reason is because it requires dedication to building a revenue generation system. It involves the people and process with a dash of faith that you are on the right path because others have done it before you.
Many business owners don’t have the stamina or commitment. They focus on the symptoms behind too few leads rather than the root cause. When addressing those signs doesn’t fix the problem, they lose faith in marketing and sales, claiming it can’t work, then move on to the next big idea or trend.
Establish Your Revenue Engine
Don’t expect that Sales or Marketing operating independently will deliver the results you want. If you don’t have enough leads, look beyond the symptoms to the root cause. We can help.
Contact us and we’ll work together and create your plan that aligns sales and marketing to build a powerful revenue engine for your business.
Build Your Revenue Generation System
Kendra Lee, is author of The Sales Magnet and Selling Against the Goal. She is the founder of KLA Grhttps://www.klagroup.com/sales-books/oup, a sales consultancy and marketing agency that takes the mystery out of growth for small and medium companies that want to get seen, get heard, and get traction.