An integrated operating rhythm for marketing & sales

by Chris Horn

As enterprises move towards more integrated sales and marketing execution, ongoing collaboration and review is key. Establishing an integrated operating rhythm is an important step in breaking down functional silos and empowering marketing and sales to become more synchronised in their approach. So how can you get marketing and sales marching to the same beat?
 

Our Digital Go-To-Market Roadmap identifies six key steps to achieving marketing and sales integration. The first steps include lifting role and goal claritybuilding new marketing and sales capability and developing cross-functional planning processes. The roadmap then recommends establishing lead handover and recycling processes to support a more holistic customer journey.

Develop an integrated operating rhythm

The fifth step in the roadmap involves embedding an integrated operating rhythm to ensure ongoing collaboration between marketing and sales.  
 
As you introduce new and more integrated marketing and sales processes, it is unlikely to all be smooth sailing. Critical ‘pinch-points’ such as lead handovers and sales lead acceptance need to be closely monitored and continually fine-tuned.
 
Implementing a set of integrated marketing and sales dashboards and forums will enable a continual discussion and feedback loop, as well as facilitating early course-correction for any issues. This ongoing discussion also provides the tactical agility to respond to external shifts and plays a role in embedding new levels of cross-functional integration and collaboration. 

INTEGRATING MARKETING & SALES EXECUTION – STEP 5

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Source: Blackdot's Digital Go-To-Market Roadmap

Here are 3 practical tips to help you embed an integrated operating rhythm:
 
Step 1 – Ensure meeting ‘hygiene standards’ are robust
 
Forum standards are a commonly overlooked issue that can make the difference between meetings which waste significant time and resources, and those which strengthen strategy and execution disciplines,  energising all concerned towards productive, clear actions.
 
Ensure that your integrated set of marketing and sales meetings are well-sequenced amongst the myriad of other forums which are likely to exist, and more importantly, ensure that they are run efficiently and effectively.
 
Establish a set of forum standards to ensure meetings are run consistently, have defined meeting owners, decision rights are clear, and that next steps and accountabilities are captured and closed out between meetings.
 
Step 2 – Establish integrated dashboards and reports
 
A set of shared metrics and dashboards across marketing and sales are important to support aligned execution and continual course-correction.
 
Consider capturing metrics such as the sales acceptance vs rejection rate for marketing-qualified leads, sales lead follow-up time, campaign and content performance, as well as the funnel stage time to monitor for bottlenecks. Metrics such as these enable you to understand what is working and what is not.
 
Particularly in the early stages of marketing and sales integration, also ensure you are surfacing data which shows the incremental benefits being realised.
 
Monitoring and showcasing these results supports the ongoing buy-in around the transformation initiative.
 
Step 3 – Focus on lead acceptance by sales
 
The age-old problem of marketing leads not being actioned, or being perceived as poor quality, is a key point to monitor closely.

If marketing-qualified leads are not being accepted and followed up by sales, ensure you ascertain why. This ongoing conversation will surface day-to-day operational challenges, enabling solutions to be developed early before they derail engagement around new ways of working.
 
What’s next?
 
With more handovers occurring back and forth between marketing and sales, technology and automation are essential for running and scaling your newly integrated go-to-market engine. In the next post in our ‘Integrating Marketing & Sales Execution’ series, we will explore how to hardwire technology-enabled execution and get the right data in front of the right staff member, at the right time.