How To Ensure Your MQLs Align With Your SQLs
Historically, sales and marketing have a lot in common. They are revenue-centric departments that are critical to rapid company growth. Their actions have direct impact on customer experience and retention. However, they can often be at odds. When growth goals aren’t met, each department is quick to point the finger at the other.
Thankfully, things are changing in modernized businesses. The emergence of the Chief Revenue Officer and the growth of Account Based Marketing have helped break down these silos and put systems in place for two departments to get more actionable intelligence from each other. By taking the three steps outlined below, your team can bridge the gap between MQLs and SQLs. Gain more efficient day-to-day operations, reduce wasted marketing spend, more informed sales outreach and better customer experience.
Understand How Firmographics & Demographics Impact Sales Relevance
Old-school marketing campaigns cast a wide net at a large audience. Over time, the audience whittles itself away. Someone raises their hand for sales outreach and the sales rep spends time talking to a handful of MQLs, only some of which are at all close to a good fit for the product at hand. That’s a lot of wasted energy (and money).
To get sales and marketing alignment, you need to flip that funnel on its head. Start by looking at your best accounts. What makes them the best? What does the buying group look like at key accounts and how can you profile each “role” in them to develop content to cater to their needs?
When setting up KAIROS campaign targeting, we start with firmographics. If your ABM campaigns don’t account for firm level attributes of the prospects then the reporting will be less actionable for sales teams when the time comes.
As an example – you are a marketer for a specialty-specific EHR solution provider. Your sales team needs to let you know how much easier or difficult it is to win business at a hospital who currently uses Epic versus Cerner versus MEDITECH, etc. Further, they need to share what key factors are discussed when approaching accounts using any given solution. Different features or integrations need to be prioritized in the marketing material given the target’s firmographics. By sharing this information, marketing dollars get spent more efficiently and sales teams can better prioritize MQLs. Time and money aren’t wasted on entrenched accounts and optimal ones get the attention they deserve.
Use Buying Intent Data To Flag Key Accounts and Inform Next Steps
Marketing’s job isn’t done just because an account surges up the MQL list after watching a webinar and downloading a case study in a single day. This prospect’s profile and behavior history need to be passed off to sales in an easy to digest way. In an ideal world, automated flags get raised in the sales rep’s CRM when a prospect exhibits all the right behavior and firmographics are worthwhile for outreach.
However, even the most qualified and engaged leads can be difficult to close. Buyers are hesitant. Overcoming company inertia is a very real challenge if the entire buyer’s group isn’t being engaged. Sales and marketing need to review what the path-to-close was for won accounts with similar firmographics. As your teams review what content was engaged with in the buyer’s journey you’ll see trends of what content resonated. This creates a marketing and sales playbook that your team can deploy to deliver the right content in the right situation towards future engaged prospects. Our partner company, Chronicle Health, has a suite of products dedicated to prescriptive analytics and sales enablement.
Debrief As A Revenue Team Each Quarter
Salesforce offers a great blog article on the emergence of the Chief Revenue Officer. The CRO aims to break down silos in marketing, sales, product, customer service and “revenue generating” departments so that everyone is in alignment. If your organization has a CRO, or similarly functioning role, that person should lead discussions every quarter and discuss a few things. Here are three quick questions to help make those discussions productive:
- What clients have seen the most success with your product? This answer highlights companies that can be profiled in case studies or upsold other products. It can identify new targets in your pipeline that fit that mold for marketing and sales to chase down.
- What type of content was most effective in your sales pitches? During the sales pitch, what do the prospects ask most about? Is it feature-focused? Are you discussing case studies or do they want to see technical spec sheets? What type of content led to the “request to be contacted” in traditional marketing forms? These answers inform future content to be developed.
- What “buyer persona” has presented the most challenges in closing deals and why? Discussing hurdles helps create an action plan for future content development. Your teams can work together to compare and contrast different sales efforts and find the right talking points to build consensus throughout the buyer’s group. Who are the gate keepers, decision makers and influencers that you need to have something in the playbook for?
Want Some Additional Help?
If you would like some added help creating departmental alignment, we offer KAIROS Workshops that can stand on their own or be used as a launchpad for a full scale KAIROS Intelligence-based marketing campaign. The workshops facilitate discussions between sales & marketing, help create buyer personas for your accounts, identify content marketing gaps and create segmentation criteria you can use in your CRM and marketing automation platforms.
Getting your revenue teams on the same page creates exponential benefits throughout the company. As collaboration grows, customer experience improves, close rate improves, marketing dollars are better spent, LTV increases and growth goals will be crushed. Use the form below to discuss setting up a KAIROS Workshop for your team.