The number of leads a marketer generates in a given time period has been the standard benchmark for defining the success of your marketing team. Although this isn’t an inherently bad approach, it’s not the most effective.
“The ultimate goal of a marketing team is to put your sales team into a position to sell deals by creating content, sales enablement materials and processes that can help them succeed in their role,” says Guido Bartolacci, New Breed’s Head of Demand Generation.
What this means is that if your marketing efforts are not directly contributing to sales success, and therefore revenue, then your marketing is essentially failing. So instead of ending marketing’s responsibility once they pass a lead to sales, extend their accountability to include how many of their leads actually close as customers.
In order to successfully measure your marketing team on revenue, you need to ensure that your company has a smooth handoff between marketing and sales. Aligning these two teams will ensure that they are working towards a common goal and will ultimately improve your workflow.
Leads vs. Revenue
Measuring on leads is still considered a SMART goal, meaning it is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. However, because lead generation focuses only on the top portion of the funnel, solely measuring on leads will give you limited insight into your overall marketing and sales process. Additionally, generating leads doesn’t ensure closed-won customers.
When your marketing team is measured on revenue, they tend to focus on activities that fall deeper in the funnel as well.
“When your marketing team is measured on revenue, you see the efficiency in addressing pain-points go up. Companies will start to see shorter sales cycles, higher win rates and a higher average contract value,” says Guido.
Rather than focusing all of their attention on initially generating leads, your marketing team will continue to focus on nurturing those leads until they become customers when measured on revenue, which will ultimately assist in your marketing and sales alignment.
“If all of the leads that you’re generating are not progressing through the funnel and you’re not ensuring a smooth marketing-to-sales handoff or nurturing your leads to try to bring them back to your site, there’s a very low chance those leads are ever going to end up closing for you long-term,” says Guido.
Marketing and Sales Alignment
To align your sales and marketing teams to ensure that deals close, you also need to understand your ideal customer profile (ICP). It’s a catch-22: in order to understand your ICP, you need to align your sales and marketing teams; in order to align your sales and marketing teams, you need to understand your ICP.
This means identifying what matters to your ICP, what content resonates with them, what their entire buyer’s journey will look like and the differences between them, too.
Once you start segmenting your leads into different personas, you’ll have a better sense of what persona A cares about versus persona B, where their buyer's journey begins and ends and how to create content addressing that information.
“You might have two personas that have the same issue, but different ways of thinking about it and approaching it,” Guido says. “Creating a content path or conversion path that guides both of those personas towards the same solution that you offer will aid in driving demand for your company and ensuring they close as customers.”
If you want to reach your personas effectively, it’s really important to connect with your sales team and understand who they’re talking to. A useful resource in this case would be to draft a Service-Level Agreement (SLA).
By creating an SLA, you’re establishing ways to hold each team accountable. Your marketing team would be responsible for delivering qualified leads to sales, and your sales team would be responsible for following up with those leads in a specific way. For example, at New Breed we have a timeline that dictates how the accountability falls into place and at what cadence we institute touchpoints.
Measuring your marketing team on leads may be measurable and specific, but tends to fall short. Although you may be hitting your lead goals, that doesn’t ensure that those leads will actually become customers. Measuring on revenue incentivizes marketers to attract leads that are likely to become SQLs, opportunities and customers. Normally if you use leads as a measuring metric, there’s a disconnect and friction between your marketing and sales teams. Since measuring your marketing team on revenue relies heavily on marketing and sales alignment, you can be sure that both teams are working in tandem towards one common goal.