The Marketing Strategy Example – align qualified leads with sales targets – tends to resonate well with CEOs and CFOs because qualified leads are the fuel that drives revenue.
Within a marketing organization, the demand creation function is responsible for generating marketing qualified leads. These leads are then passed to demand management where they are converted to qualified sales opportunities, and are then handed off to the sales organization for closing.
A Demand Creation Plan requires strategic, proactive and integrated planning to efficiently and effectively align the resources to produce both the desired results and the ROI returns the business demands.
Marketing Strategy Example – Align Qualified Leads with Sales Targets
- Marketing Goal – Impact Revenue
- Benefits of a Marketing Strategy that aligns qualified leads with sales targets:
- Allows for an intelligent approach to building a qualified pipeline from an integrated plan
- Enables efficient allocation of resources (specialization and cost)
- Provides a consistent pipeline for all channels
- Marketing Strategies – Create marketing-qualified leads at a rate consumable by the sales team and consistent with sales targets each and every quarter.
- Reverse-engineer lead targets
- Develop a definition of a marketing-qualified lead with the sales team
- Incorporate the time lag between marketing program conception and the generation of marketing qualified leads.
Marketing Goal – Impact Revenue
By definition, Marketing should directly correlate to revenue, as the lead generation function is part of the sales process and should be managed by Marketing. The key is that Marketing and Sales must be integrated and aligned with the same goals using consistent terminology, definitions, processes and systems.
In most cases, Marketing will not own 100% of sales pipeline creation-so the sales team and indirect channels should share ownership. However, Marketing must not be satisfied with just creating a marketing qualified lead — because the mutually shared goal with sales is revenue. As a result, Marketing needs to focus on creating marketing qualified leads with a high propensity to convert to a closed/won deal.
Marketing Strategy – Synchronize to Sales Goals
The first step in developing a marketing strategy which impacts revenue is to understand the numbers. Specifically, subscriptions or bookings targets need to be deconstructed to the marketing qualified lead level. At a minimum this requires reverse-engineering the subscription or bookings target to determine the required number of deals, qualified sales opportunities and marketing qualified leads. The resulting demand waterfall will provide the clarity and timing of when and how many marketing-qualified leads need to be generated.
It is crucial to understand the time lag between the inception of a marketing program and the creation of marketing qualified leads. In general, it may take weeks or months to develop an integrated marketing campaign that will yield a significant return on the marketing investment. Once a campaign is designed, it then needs to be executed. This execution may happen at a point in time or over a period of time, and that needs to be accounted for in the sales pipeline plan. Responses to the campaign then must be scored, nurtured and contacted, all of which takes time. In short, the time horizon to create marketing qualified leads in an integrated, sustained and cost-effective campaign typically requires at least a quarter or more.
To complicate matters further, the flow of marketing qualified leads needs to be at a pace consumable by the sales team and consistent with sales targets, each and every quarter. For example, if the marketing qualified lead total is 1,000 per quarter, it is unwise to create that entire amount in a week. It can be challenging, but creating a consistent, steady flow of marketing qualified leads each month is much more effective than dropping a whole quarters’ worth at once. This is because much of that ripe fruit will rot.
- Reverse-engineer the numbers
- Create a demand waterfall by week
- Document estimates and assumptions
- Define terminology with the sales team
- Document roles and responsibilities
- Create a campaign template
- Summarize the campaign timeline
- Create and update the database of targeted companies and contacts
- Create compelling messaging and offers
- Leverage marketing automation
- Integrate marketing and sales automation systems
- Track, monitor and manage metrics, dashboards and KPIs
What to Look Out For
Aligning qualified leads with sales targets is difficult. While developing the right marketing strategy is a required first step, it is important to realize many things can go wrong:
- The wrong people in the jobs
- Inappropriate funding
- A short-term mentality – “one and done” marketing events
- A “lead” mindset vs developing a marketing qualified lead with a high propensity to purchase
- A lack of accountability
- Ad-hoc processes and systems
Effective Marketing Strategy Example – Closing Thoughts
Generating leads and spending money is not the same as aligning marketing qualified leads with sales targets. A focused goal and a well thought out marketing strategy is a best practice for generating marketing qualified leads through a managed, repeatable process that is metric-driven, yields expected results and is cost effective. The downside of not embracing this approach is there is a very good probability that the sales team does not make quota and the financial needs of the business are not met. Leverage this Marketing Strategy Example to align qualified leads with sales targets.