Aligning Sales and Marketing around the Demand Unit Waterfall

Helen Barlow Demand Generation, Global Marketing, Marketing Strategy

Where does organic social sit in the marketing funnel?

Sirius Decisions’ Isabel Montesdeoca and Julian Archer recently shared a shocking statistic, one which doesn’t paint marketers in the best of light –

“Marketing sourced demand has a 99% failure rate.”

It’s time to realign

What struck us about this wasn’t the challenges around identifying ‘Target’ or ‘Active’ Demand; nor the new definitions around ‘Engaged’, ‘Prioritised’ or ‘Qualified’ Demand and how best to quantify these.

Instead, we were struck by the fundamental need to re-visit the alignment between Sales and Marketing.

It’s an age-old story and the professional rivalry between Sales and Marketing has become somewhat legendary. But what if you could align these team’s objectives. Would it even make a difference? Well let’s look at the stats:

 

 

“Well if the stat doesn’t paint me in a great light, I’d probably tell a different story.” We hear you clever bods in Marketing say. But in this case, that is not the answer. When the rubber hits the road and the Data Studio Dashboards are in and counted, those metrics will still hold out and they’re not great – regardless of the story that you tell.

So, unless retirement is in the imminent future, a 99% failure rate simply won’t cut it! Ultimately Sales need quality opportunities and Marketing need to drive significant revenue.

We have the same goals BUT until now there’s been a force field between both teams that keeps Enquiries/ MQL’s and MAL’s in the realm of the marketing team and SQL’s and beyond with Sales.

It’s more than MQLs

We all know what “the other side” is doing and we call them the same thing BUT, and here’s the kicker – we don’t have the same definition and ultimately whilst Marketing may care deeply about the handover of a “lead” (one contact) Sales are much more interested in the opportunity – which includes the buying unit, the solution interest, budget allocation and readiness to buy.

Yes, we all have similar targets and measure on our qualified leads and we do a brilliant job of attracting, creating and converting them. But ultimately, there is often still a miss-alignment of what’s provided to Sales teams and Business Objectives Demand (unit waterfall) even with SLA’s deployed.

As we become more intelligent on intent mapping, lead nurturing and accelerating reach to key targets, it’s about time that we step back and take a hard look at the alignment between Sales and Marketing and challenge the reliance we may have developed on MQL’s.

By realigning definitions around what we want to provide (high-quality MQLs) and what our businesses really need (high-quality opportunities), it’s time that both Sales and Marketing refuse to accept the 1% and decide to do something about decreasing that 99% – together.

Check out our Sales Funnel for Marketers if you’re interested in learning more or take a look at What a CMO needs to know about the Demand Unit Waterfall.

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