Sales and Marketing Alignment

Dramatically reducing the Marketing to Sales backlog

Lack of sales and marketing alignment is often a cause of poor lead-to-sales conversions

Problem: Senior Marketing Director at a large U.S. technology vendor was having trouble with a large backlog of marketing qualified leads MQLs and poor conversion of marketing leads to orders.

Action: We identified the reason as poor marketing-to-sales follow through once the leads reached the MQL status. This was occurring on several levels. We prioritized and addressed the two most important problems.

The highest priority issue was a poor handoff off leads from marketing to sales. We first addressed this issue at the national level by establishing monthly meetings between the country marketing and sales operations teams. The purpose of these meetings was to review the backlog and have sales accept the MQLs.  

Result The backlog was decreased from 68% to 13% within 3 months.

Action: The first intervention helped the marketing-to-sales backlog issue, but it didn’t improve the leads-to-sales conversion rate. To improve the conversion rate, we looked at the results by country. Although most were not working effectively, we found several that were at, or over, the benchmark. We interviewed those successful marketing teams, identified their most effective tactics and strategies, and broadly communicated these as best practices.  

For example, the Australia/New Zealand marketing team printed out the newly qualified leads for review with the local sales manager. The sales manager then picked the leads for their team to follow up, and returned the others for continued nurturing. This approach also ensured that sales managers were personally committed to the process, resulting in them following up on the leads with the individuals on their sales team.

Result: The results for the current year are not in yet, but each of the local marketing and sales teams has taken on meeting the IDC industry benchmarks for their FY14 goal.