Sales teams and marketers are two sides of the same coin — though, if we’re being honest, they’re a bit of an odd couple.
Simply put, they live in different worlds. Although they both aim to make the company successful, B2B sales reps and marketers typically play by their own rules, strategies and definitions of success.
The result? Sales and marketing misalignment. When teams don’t work together, both departments bear the consequences. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, this issue costs organizations an estimated $1 trillion every year.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to unify your sales and marketing team to avoid misalignment altogether. Perhaps the best strategy at your disposal is to focus on the most impactful way both departments can influence revenue: maximizing live engagements via B2B meetings and sessions.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to align sales and marketing ROI around live engagements, whether at industry events or as a result of your inbound marketing campaigns.
The importance of sales and marketing alignment
It’s an open secret that marketing and sales teams aren’t always in sync. According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 90% of sales and marketing professionals report misalignment in terms of strategy, process, culture and content. Worse yet, nearly all respondents believe this negatively affects the business and its customers.
However, an aligned sales and marketing team generates the opposite result. When you empower both departments to work together, you can achieve the following benefits:
- Increased revenue: Alignment allows teams to work their best, thereby increasing sales effectiveness and energizing your marketing strategy. In fact, Forrester reports that companies with high levels of sales and marketing alignment experience 2.4x greater revenue growth and twice as much growth in profitability.
- Improved lead conversions: By aligning your sales and marketing effort, you can establish a well-defined process for lead generation, qualification and handoff. This ensures that prospects are properly nurtured and handed over to the sales team at the right time, maximizing conversion rates and reducing the risk of leads falling through the cracks.
- Enhanced customer experience: The same LinkedIn survey reveals that 90% of sales and marketing leaders agree alignment positively impacts the customer experience. By contrast, sales and marketing misalignment can cause the two parties to send mixed messages, which confuses the target audience.
However, realizing these advantages is easier said than done. About 96% of marketers and salespeople admit there are many challenges in achieving alignment. These issues include:
- Marketing and sales teams don’t always report to the same executive.
- They don’t measure success using the same KPIs.
- Their definitions of “target personas” and “qualified lead” may differ.
- Sales and marketing goals may not be in sync.
- Siloed departments may rely on different tools. Moreover, insufficient integrations hinder data sharing and collaboration.
The most effective way to overcome these complications is by refocusing your organization around common goals. Because live engagements are key to the B2B customer journey, meetings and sessions are the logical answer. More likely than not, your teams are already working hard to maximize their prospect interactions throughout the sales process.
For instance, demand gen marketing campaigns or events can help potential customers reach the point in their journey where they’re ready to meet directly with solution experts. Marketers can leverage this strategy to book inbound marketing qualified meetings (MQMs) and sessions in advance of conferences and trade shows or register the prospect for an upcoming live seminar.
Meanwhile, the sales team must proactively reach out to prospects to set up outbound appointments. By pre-planning engagements, you can amplify sales effectiveness and make the most of your B2B event program. Of course, this strategy necessitates using a meeting scheduling automation tool (but more on that later).
7 customer engagement KPIs for sales and marketing alignment
Now that you have a sound strategy to align your sales and marketing team, let’s talk about ways to measure the ROI of this approach.
Gartner research, as reported by AdWeek, reveals that organizations that align cross-functional KPIs are almost three times more likely to exceed new customer acquisition targets than those that don’t. Moreover, they’re key to solidifying your alignment around meetings and sessions.
Let’s explore seven KPIs that’ll measure the effectiveness of your engagement strategy:
- Deal conversion rate: There’s no escaping this metric, as it’s essential to gauge how many prospects become customers. This KPI helps assess sales productivity and the effectiveness of your meetings and sessions in driving revenue, allowing you to make adjustments over time.
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC): When calculating CAC, ensure you’re factoring expenses related to customer engagement activities, such as trade show attendance, travel, meeting space and more. Tracking CAC provides insights into the efficiency and profitability of your aligned sales and marketing effort.
- Pipeline contribution: It’s important to know which engagement types — executive sessions, demos, booth tours etc. — further your sales pipeline and those that don’t. This metric helps you understand how your meetings and sessions contribute to campaign goals, whether they be revenue growth, donations or anything else. This allows you to determine which events are most important to your campaigns and cut those that aren’t.
- Pipeline acceleration: By evaluating the impact of your meetings and sessions on the sales cycle, you can identify areas of improvement that can streamline the sales process and optimize future engagements. In theory, the shorter the cycle, the more effective your strategy.
- Lead-to-meeting ratio: This KPI assesses your ability to convert leads into scheduled meetings or sessions. It provides insights into the quality of leads generated and sales reps’ success in securing MQMs with prospects.
- Engagement attendance rate: Attendees don’t always show up to the engagement. In fact, 10-15% of meetings are no-shows, which can cost up to 21% of annual revenue. Tracking attendance allows you to rectify complications in the scheduling process, such as time-zone errors or double bookings.
- Event ROI: Measuring event marketing ROI is crucial. It involves evaluating the cost of participation, including booth fees, travel, and marketing expenses, against the resulting sales revenue or opportunity pipeline generated by your meetings and sessions.
Why sales and marketing teams need meeting scheduling automation
So, unifying sales reps and marketers around live engagements can do wonders in the way of organizational alignment. But, to truly bridge the gap between these two departments, you need to optimize the B2B scheduling workflow.
Why? Because it’s complicated. You’re dealing with hundreds of sessions, countless calendars, multiple time zones and dozens of topics at a time. A lot can go wrong, which is why meeting scheduling automation software is the best way to simplify (and streamline) the process.
With Jifflenow’s robust platform, you can:
- Streamline scheduling by enabling inbound requests, directly from prospects and customers, mapped to specific topics, engagement types and meeting locations.
- Eliminate back-and-forth communication with sales reps for their outbound scheduling process by offering multiple meeting types that are also mapped to topics and internal experts.
- Improve collaboration between marketing and sales teams with a centralized hub for schedules, attendee information, meeting notes and more.
- Integrate CRM and marketing automation systems to break down data silos and track engagements back to revenue and other goals.
- Gather meeting data and other insights to maximize ROI and optimize future event strategies.
Looking for more insights? Read how a marketing leader at PacBio leveraged a meetings-driven event strategy to get sales and marketing mission focused on driving pipeline from an important event. Download the case study.