Most agencies perceive that marketing’s sole function is to generate leads, while sales is responsible for turning those leads into clients. When marketing fails to deliver, the sales team shifts the lack of revenue to the other. This lack of alignment is what causes underperformance in most agencies. In practice, marketing and sales must converge and have aligned goals to jumpstart an agency’s growth. The alignment shortens the customer journey and brings about a significant improvement in performance metrics. A survey by Demand Centric shows that 66% of companies with complete alignment achieved their revenue goals.
The success of your sales and marketing alignment will depend on the execution of your process and the capabilities of your agency. This begs the question, “How do you make an effective sales and marketing alignment?”
Improving Agency Initiatives
There is no cookie-cutter way of ensuring your sales and marketing converge accordingly—every digital marketing company or even freelancers have different sales and marketing models that they follow. The key is to improve your agency initiatives for an integrated sales and marketing approach.
1. Building your marketing collaterals
Agencies encounter two types of clients: transactional and consultative. You need to build marketing collaterals that will appeal to both types of clients.
Transactional clients are perceptive about the cost and ease of doing business with a provider. They look for solutions that will be favorable to their business, which is why they are likely to choose an agency with the best deal.
Consultative clients, on the other hand, seek a solution to their problems. The challenge here lies in aligning your service criteria to their needs. In this case, the value should be the main point of your marketing collaterals.
How do marketing collaterals fit in the sales process, though? Your marketing collaterals serve as powerful tools that minimize the risk of losing potential clients. Whitepapers, guides, and case studies highlighting your digital marketing expertise are useful when your sales team is pitching to clients. For instance, franchise businesses looking into investing in SEO but don’t have knowledge of its value can benefit from your marketing collaterals. When the time comes they need SEO franchise services, they’ll have enough information to proceed with their SEO campaign.
2. Redefining conversion
Sales and marketing follow a basic principle – to maintain the flow of the conversion funnel. The first few steps in the conversion funnel often falls under the jurisdiction of marketing, as this involves brand awareness and lead generation. The rest of the steps go to sales, as this is where you execute the marketing plan and follow up on leads.
When both aspects don’t work well, clients don’t find their way down the pipeline and business becomes lost. The smartest way to go about this is to manage marketing and sales activities as integrated steps in the conversion funnel, from the initial market research to the close.
Marketing can help set the standards for leads and develop value propositions for an effective sales pitch. Sales, on the other hand, can be involved with the upstream portion of the funnel through strategic decisions and effective client profiling.
3. Focusing on lead scoring
A common mistake of some agencies, especially start-ups, is they utilize resources on clients who are not the right fit. This doesn’t only cause setbacks to the business, but also minimizes the opportunities for closing more sales. In a study by Marketing Sherpa, 73% of leads are not sales-ready, which halts the sales process. The solution to this is lead scoring.
Lead scoring allows you to gauge leads for their sales-readiness, making it easier to leverage marketing plans and develop a strong pitch. You can set the threshold score for a lead. Your marketing and sales teams need to set the criteria for the threshold score, which may include:
- Demographic attributes: industry, job title/role, nature of business, country, etc.
- Behavioral attributes: website activity, interest, channel participation, etc.
The important aspect of lead scoring is setting benchmark metrics. The process requires continuous refining to ensure that every lead will be at the appropriate stage in your conversion funnel.
4. Qualifying your clients
One of the biggest blunders that agencies make is they leap at the chance to pitch to anyone. Ultimately, you would want to focus your efforts on clients that have a high potential to do business with your agency. So once a prospect reaches your threshold lead score, you can qualify them for a sales pitch.
Your sales and marketing strategies will depend on the qualifications you set for clients. When you’ve got a clear understanding of the type of clients that fall under your agency requirements, qualifying them becomes easier.
Here are some guide questions when qualifying your clients:
- Do they have the budget to employ your solutions?
- Who acts as the decision maker in their business?
- What triggered them to seek an agency?
- Do they have any good or bad experience working with an agency?
- What do they expect to achieve when they partner with an agency?
Create your ideal prospect profile—it’s up to you to determine the make or break factors that will qualify your clients. This will make it easier to identify leads that are worthy of your time and resources.
5. Setting goals
Marketing and sales have different initial goals, but this doesn’t mean you can’t unify them. There exists a clear boundary between sales and marketing if these two are aligned, but this doesn’t limit their roles. In essence, they remain flexible in achieving your agency and client’s goals.
To align your sales and marketing goals, you need to have common metrics for tracking performance in both areas. You can divide these into quantity and quality metrics. Quantity metrics may include the number of leads generated, client reach, and projected revenue. Quality metrics may include percentage of qualified clients, average deal percentage, and average transaction value.
Part of goal setting involves drafting a service level agreement for your sales and marketing teams. This ensures each team has the commitment to accomplish their roles to support the other. This also makes it easier to get projections for your agency and meet client expectations.
A strong sales and marketing alignment brings more value for your client, while helping your agency develop a competitive advantage in the industry. This involves strategic, forward-thinking processes that can build the foundation of your agency.
Combine your sales and marketing strategies to grow your client base. Call our toll-free number at 1-800-250-6106 and talk of our Project Managers.