How Marketing and Sales Are Connected
Marketing Scaleurs Founder Jolien Demeyer with Sales Scaleur Founder Shima Zeroual
Today’s marketing and sales landscape look vastly different from that of just a few decades ago. With the advent of the internet, blogging, social media, and a myriad of digital communications channels. The path to purchase is not a simple straight line. But a complex and varied web of twists and turns — and touchpoints.
Fundamentally, sales and marketing have always been intrinsically linked. Simply put, if marketing brings in inbound leads, sales need to chase them. But through the modern complex web of channels, Sales and Marketing have never been more closely connected than today.
So what is that connection? How do both sides work together to create an efficient, well-oiled machine of a sales funnel? That’s what we’ll explore below.
What’s the difference between Sales and Marketing?
But let’s back up and first define the difference between sales and marketing. Before looking at the flow from one to the other. So clearly stated, what is the difference between sales and marketing?
Marketing does the educating and advertising, attracting new leads with relevant information to get them interested in your offering. Sales close the deal, reminding the prospect of the value of your offerings. And helping them follow through with the purchase, converting the lead into a customer.
Often sales manage relationships with customers or clients. And marketing manages the processes that make people interested in becoming a customer or client.
Today’s consumers are also increasingly immune to traditional advertising and sales methodologies. Meaning they conduct more independent research and take more convincing before they’re sold on making a purchase.
That’s why the buyer’s journey may differ from one consumer to the next: They’re not all listening to the same radio spots to learn about your company. They’re not even being exposed to the same information about your brand from the same sources. Some may have discovered your company on the web, while others learned of your products or services through word-of-mouth recommendations. Some may read online reviews before engaging with your marketing team or filling out an online request for more information. Others will visit your website, read your blog, and evaluate your competition before engaging with your company.
What’s more, when leads are passed from marketing to sales, they’re expected to be “sales-ready,”. Or at the decision-making stage in the buying journey. The myriad paths to purchase makes it increasingly challenging to qualify leads effectively as sales-ready.
It takes 18 touches on average to generate a viable sales lead. That means it takes multiple touches for a consumer to make the choice to request information. And even more to gather the information to determine whether a lead is ready to be passed to sales.
At the early stages in the buyer’s journey. Consumers are often merely gathering information and building awareness about your products and services. Often, these interactions are not in-depth enough to provide the information necessary to qualify as leads.
Often in marketing we talk about the sales funnel, which, confusingly enough, is actually the marketing funnel. All the touchpoints described above – digital marketing activities like email, SEO, and social media – help to introduce or move the lead through the funnel to the point of making a decision.
But once a lead is qualified, it’s important that the handoff from marketing to sales is coordinated and smooth. From here, it’s up to the sales team to to close the sale, and often, to maintain the customer relationship.
A lot of this stage of the sales process can be automated with various tools, but ultimately it is still a personal process. A personal call to check in with a customer can still work wonders, and this is the job of the sales team.
What to Consider
Scaling your business obviously assumes you will get more in-bound leads, which leads to more calls, which can lead to more sales. Do you have the structure in place to generate more leads and sales from end to end?
Ask yourself, do you have:
- A sufficient lead flow to generate the desired number of leads?
- Marketing systems to track and manage leads?
- Enough sales representatives to follow up and close leads?
- A robust system to manage sales orders?
- A billing system and receivables function for follow-up to ensure invoices are collected on a timely basis?
When you’re tracking the right things, growth becomes much easier. Focus on metrics that make you a customer-centric organization, so you get actionable data and timely user feedback that pushes your company forward. Find out which marketing initiatives are creating value by improving results, boosting ROI, and delivering mature leads to your sales team. Being able to attribute revenue properly through each of your marketing activities is key to knowing where to place your resources to fuel growth.
What to Track
Basic metrics like lead volume and website traffic are important, but failing to dive deeper means you could be missing out on key insights into your marketing performance and valuable opportunities for improvement. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) ratio, unengaged subscribers, and other advanced marketing metrics will give you deeper insight into what’s driving your success and where you should focus your attention.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are generally defined as bottom-of-the-funnel prospects who have indicated they’re ready to purchase, or at least talk to a salesperson, by downloading buying guides, requesting a demo, or signing up for a free trial. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are those potential customers whom sales determines are ready for a direct follow-up.
Looking at the percentage of MQLs that are accepted as SQLs is a good indicator of the health of your pipeline and your marketing team’s ability to qualify and screen leads. It’s also a great indication of how well your marketing and sales team are aligned and communicating with each other, since a low ratio raises a red flag that there’s a disconnect between marketing and sales.
How to measure it? Divide the number of SQLs by the number of MQLs to calculate your MQL to SQL conversion rate.
If you’re looking for more top-level coverage, a great starting resource is Hubspot’s Sales & Marketing Service Level Agreement, found here. But if you’re looking for a deep dive with tons of actionable insight, check out our book, Think Big, Scale Fast.
We’re here to help with all your marketing needs, but if you need help scaling your sales, our friends at Sales Scaleur should be your first call. Founder Shima Zeroual and her team are experts in helping businesses grow their sales processes and teams, in a modern, integrated manner.
Become a Successful Scaleur
Scaling is a strategy that can only be mastered by a scaleur who is a dedicated learner and considers real-time business priorities. I hope the article above has helped! Marketing Scaleurs is a scaling company that helps entrepreneurs scale their marketing efforts. We’re experts in growth marketing, product development, and more, creating custom growth plans for startups, entrepreneurs and scaleurs in order to help them gain traffic, generate leads and increase their revenue.
If you want traffic, leads and sales, get in touch and you’ll start getting results in no time!