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Alignment Between Sales and Marketing is Crucial for Revenue-Generation Marketing

December 20, 2013
at 12:14 pm PST

The odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes are 21 times higher versus 30 minutes. The odds of calling to qualify a lead decrease by over 6 times in the 1st hour.

Forbes

In my most recent blog, I approached the idea of revenue-generation marketing needing to have proof in the pipeline. Of course you can re-read my previous blog, but “no matter how great your strategy may be, you should check the metrics to make sure it’s working” nicely sums it up.

I also touched lightly on how sales and marketing should align in order to make revenue-generation marketing successful and that is the topic I would like to focus on in this blog.

We know that the journey to revenue-generation marketing is just that, a journey, and we are on our way at Cisco. I often have conversations about where we are in that journey, and I thought it would be a good time to share some of that information with you. After all, you’re on this journey with us!

When embarking on this journey, the first step many take is picking a tool. Our experience thus far in the journey is that a critical step is aligning sales and marketing around expectations of each other. I refer to this as a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Put down on paper what is expected of sales and marketing as we all work together to put qualified leads through the system. We also used industry standard terms for lead qualification to help with terminology.

With an SLA in place to ensure that the leads coming from marketing are being properly qualified, our next step was to make sure that contact information was being followed up on a particular timeline. As you saw in the Forbes quote at the beginning of this blog, timeliness is extremely important when tracking sales leads. As a result, we now have SLAs in place that dictate just what is expected of the sales force when they receive a lead. In fact, that is now communicated to them in their sales playbooks, showing this whole approach is a sales priority, and not just “a nice to have from marketing.”

As we continue on our journey here at Cisco, we will put more SLAs in place to track leads all the way through to booking. That, of course, is the logical step on this move to revenue-generation marketing. But, to keep this entry short, here are a few of the best practices for aligning with the sales team on revenue-generation marketing:

  1. Marketing has a responsibility to provide high level leads to sales.
  2. You need SLAs with sales that dictate the process for how those leads are handled.
  3. Those SLAs should include a timeline for pushing those qualified leads through the process.

I hope you all have a great holiday season, and I will have more to say in the New Year. In the meantime, please keep these conversations going. I’d love to hear your perspectives in the comments section or via twitter @sherriliebo.

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