Best Practices for Marketing and Sales Alignment: Working Through the Funnel – Part 2

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Last week, Atri Chatterjee, CMO of Act-On joined Pete Gracey, Co-founder and President of AG Salesworks in an in-depth webinar on Best Practices for Marketing and Sales Alignment: Working Through the Funnel. If you’ve read Part I of our story, you already know how much work goes into building a solid top of the funnel.

In the second half of the webinar, Pete discussed the significance of having a basic strategy in place for front-line sales people and the importance of nurturing opportunities and moving them swiftly through the sales pipeline.  He called out seven critical areas that inside sales should focus on when preparing to deal with the influx of quality inbound leads from marketing.

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1. Ideal customer profiling - There are two key prerequisites for front line sales reps receiving quality leads from your marketing team:

  • Knowing who your ideal customer is, and
  • Understanding the evaluation process, and what makes someone your target customer

2. Database management – Building a quality database is an extremely valuable exercise for your organization, but not every contact you get will be accurate. If you don’t have strict hygiene standards for how sales people input new data into CRM, you’ll have a higher frequency of degraded data over time. Train your people on minimum quality requirements as a standard part of the storing process, in order to achieve quality data.

3. Tactical outbound messaging – Once your team is educated, the next step is to work on tactics. As a general rule, front line salespeople should not be pitching in detail. Their goal is to get a decision-maker talking about intimate business concerns, and ultimately further qualify that individual. Your tactical outbound messaging should also be competition-ready – which doesn’t mean criticizing your competition, but knowing their strengths and weaknesses.

4. Email marketing automation – Automate the day-to-day, one-on-one communications that go into qualifying an opportunity in order to significantly increase performance metrics for your reps. There should still be some individualized emails, but anything that can be automated through your telequalification reps should be employed as part of your strategy.

5. Fully qualified lead delivery – Your tactical messaging is designed to get people talking and revealing the deep, relevant issues surrounding their business pains. After the decision-maker has revealed their concerns, the next step is to gain agreement to schedule an introductory call between the salesperson and the prospect, in which all of their technical questions can be addressed.

6. Closed loop feedback – There are three critical questions that should be asked the day after the call was scheduled to occur:

  • Did the call occur? The goal here is that 70-90% of calls should happen.
  • Was the information provided by the telequalification representative accurate? Ideally, 90-100% of the information should be accurate.
  • Is there a logical next step in the sales process? Between 80-90% of prospects should be converting.

7. ROI analysis – To wrap it up, none of these steps matter unless you analyze the results on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. Whatever you’re investing in the campaign, you want to see at least 50 times that investment in the stage 1 pipeline. Over 50% or more of those should show up on the forecast at a deeper level, and you should be closing an appropriate amount of business to justify the expense of managing this seven-step process.

Want the marketing side of this story? Read Best Practices for Marketing and Sales Alignment: Working Through the Funnel – Part I

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