Wednesday, March 09, 2011

 

How to measure sales and marketing collaboration

Although still too-few companies are doing it well, the idea of driving deeper integration between sales and marketing is an increasingly high priority for executives as a means of driving greater sales output and velocity, and at a lower cost.

Much of the conversation has focused on how to get these teams talking to each other, aligning around common goals, and coordinating their efforts to map to the complete buying cycle of both new and existing customers.

But how do you measure it? How do you ensure this new focus on collaboration between sales and marketing is working?

Here are a few strategies I’ve found work particularly well.

Focus on fewer metrics (not more). Most of the time when we talk about establishing new measurements, we add metrics to our scorecards. This is actually an opportunity to reduce the metrics we’re watching. If sales and marketing are aligned, then lead volume doesn’t necessarily matter as much as it once did. Qualified lead activity is more important. And, in fact, I’d argue that the most important metric for sales and marketing to focus on and measure together is qualified opportunity creation. This single metric requires both sales and marketing to work together, and makes other measures secondary.

Establish a baseline first, then measure the lift. If there’s little to no collaboration today, your current performance is your baseline. As you establish and begin executing on your initial integration priorities, immediately begin measuring improvements to leading-indicator statistics. Leads converted, sales cycle velocity, outbound call response rates, etc. If you have a snapshot of how well these activities were performing before, you should have an early indicator of how effective your initial integration attempts are working.

Compare opportunity and sales output to total cost of resources. Effective sales and marketing collaboration should ultimately reduce the required resources to collectively engage and close qualified opportunities. It should make your current resources more efficient (with higher conversion rates), allow those same resources to produce greater results, or allow you to reduce total resources allocated to a specific focus area. In general, in addition to increasing sales volume and velocity, successful collaboration should consistently reduce your cost of acquisition. This is an important and often overlooked measure of sales and marketing integration effectiveness.

Measure before and after team satisfaction. Salespeople want to make more sales. Marketing, believe it or not, wants to help salespeople make more sales. The blame-game that exists in many organization not only keeps companies from closing more business, but frustrates members of both teams. Driving effective, successful collaboration between sales and marketing will drive both sides to feel better about their contribution, the direct line it provides to revenue, and greater satisfaction in their day-to-day execution to achieve those results.


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