Sales Best Practices

Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Using the Right Metrics?

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Joe Vignolo

Senior Content Managing Editor

Vanity metrics are a major obstacle to smarketing, or alignment between your sales and marketing teams. (Here are three reasons you really, really want to embrace smarketing.) Like vanity sizing, this type of metrics makes staffers feel positive and productive — after all, look how much interaction you’re getting on social media, the number of leads coming through the door, and email addresses gathered through form fills.

And of course, it is good for these numbers to trend upwards. These are significant indicators — for your marketing team. But for sales, these metrics are less meaningful since they do not necessarily result in closed deals. This conflict over which metrics matter most can cause frustrations between the two teams to move from a simmer to a boil. And fundamentally, aligning over sales and marketing metrics is an essential, powerful step toward smarketing.

Our advice: Stop using the marketing qualified leads (MQLs) as a driving metric. That’s a prime example of a metric that matters to marketing, while failing to be significant to sales. How can you be aligned if you’re chasing after different metrics? Instead, prioritize crafting goals that both teams — and the entire company — find meaningful and that reflect business lift.

Here are sales and marketing metrics that both your teams can agree to focus on, making your smarketing efforts more successful, and ultimately, driving more revenue.

1. Meetings: Booking a meeting with a lead is something that salespeople and marketers can get behind. Make landing a meeting — or a phone call — a metric that both teams track. (Credit for successes can always be shared between two people from different teams.)

2. Sales-Accepted Leads (SALs): Your marketing and sales teams can agree on the value of leads. Getting people interested and engaged is essential to closing deals. By focusing on SAL (over MQL), you can ensure that you’re tracking something meaningful — leads that the sales team finds valuable, and will pursue with confidence. Have the two teams work together to create a service-level agreement (SLA) on what defines a SAL and how salespeople should follow up with these leads; that way, there can be no confusion or conflict.

3. Revenue: What could be more important for sales and marketing teams (not to mention the entire organization). Stay on top of your progress toward meeting quarterly goals on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. Both team — sales and marketing — should be aware of the target number and if you’re likely to meet it. To achieve the goal, of course, you’ll need to work backwards: How many customers will you need to bring in? And, what percent of prospects become customers? The answers to these, and other questions, will determine your budget, which can be aligned and tracked along side the revenue goal.

To chase sales and marketing metrics that are key focus areas for both teams, the heads of marketing and sales should collaborate to align goals and then determine the metrics that measure them. Make sure to define all metrics clearly so that marketers and salespeople alike are clear on how success is defined, along with the steps to achieve it.

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