Common trends have surfaced throughout many assessments and revenue process projects we’ve conducted across various businesses, industries, GTM motions. One of the trends that’s often overlooked is the cooperative balance between teams in communicating with prospects and customers along their journeys; I like to refer to this as ‘rules of engagement’.
It’s easy to put this topic on the back burner to work through process and tech optimizations. And don’t get me wrong, those are hugely important and even so in orchestrating these communications. We must also focus on communication plans, campaign plans, and how we engage with prospects and customers throughout the lifecycle and across teams.
This article isn’t going to get into nurturing tactics and content strategy, but what we will cover is how to create cohesive prospect messaging across teams through the funnel.
“Uh, may I ask who’s calling?”
As a consumer, I bet you’ve experienced times when you received mixed messages as you engaged with a business and furthered yourself down the funnel. These inconsistencies happen for many reasons and can be observed in different ways – look and feel, topic, and tone, to name a few. For both B2B and B2C brands, this can cause confusion and lack of trust in a brand and can be detrimental to your pipeline.
Bumpy prospect and customer journeys are often result from:
- Lack of alignment between teams – Each team is creating their own content and plays in silos. We often see marketers create content for the top of the funnel (TOFU), and after the prospect MQLs, sales take over with their own curated sequences and custom materials. Sometimes, it’s as black-and-white as marketers only campaigning to inbound leads.
- Lack of data – The data isn’t available to help facilitate the rules of engagement. There’s no way for teams to see activity on the person record, and there’s little-to-no visibility into funnel progression.
- Ignoring the bigger picture – With complex business models comes more campaign orchestration. Companies with different lines of business, products, bundling, customer overlap, and many upsell/cross-sell opportunities often need help understanding when to add prospects and customers to certain nurtures and campaigns.
There will never be a clear-cut cause; usually, it’s a combination of the above. RevOps may facilitate deep dives to determine cause and chart a path forward, but often it’s beneficial to get a non-biased party to help. A neutral perspective can mediate toward common ground on key decisions and foster greater trust with all teams, often expediting progress and change.
A seamless experience
How do we make it a better experience?
- Zoom out. Where does your business want to position itself in the market, and what are the goals across revenue streams? Which LOBs take priority if there’s potential overlap? Work to build communication and campaigning strategies and budgets based on these decisions. You will also have KPIs and actionable next steps (perhaps even OKRs) to propel you to work together! More around aligning sales and marketing KPIs can be found here.
- Utilize statuses. This is a really important one – define and treat statuses as a mechanism to create a common view of the lifecycle and a shared team lexicon. You don’t need static lists of marketing vs. sales prospects and customers. Lifecycles are cyclical, and using statuses is imperative for reporting and ensuring rules of engagement can be actioned on.
- Establish responsibilities and team cooperation. Managing the buying journey is a team sport – not a zero-sum game. Start with a tool like a RACI and discuss where Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success teams are Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed for content and communications.
A few notes on the above example:
- This example is of a traditional demand generation motion; ABM would look much different.
- You’ll want to include customers in your Rules of Engagement RACI, and add other teams involved, such as customer support.
- Provide more information. SDRs and AEs would rather be selling than crafting email copy. That said, one of the issues that often arises and makes it difficult for sales to relinquish the creation to marketing is they feel there’s little visibility into what’s happening prior to receiving a lead and even during the sales qualification process. When you make this transition, it’s essential not only to inform sales of marketing efforts, but also to make sure that they can systematically see those efforts and understand how their prospects have interacted with materials and different messages. This may take shape as a widget in SFDC, such as Marketo Sales Insight.
- Implement feedback loops. Have regular meetings between teams to discuss content calendars, how current campaigns and sequences are working, and ideate future materials. These meetings should include team leaders, but feedback should be collected from all involved – internal forms and surveys are a great tool here!
Teamwork makes the dream work. Aligning internally and implementing process changes such as those listed above can do wonders for morale. Teams cooperating in this fashion can also help with tech stack redundancy identification and roadmapping to tell an even better story! Equally as important is what it does outward facing – it levels out the journey for your customers and prospects. Let us help rip out the seams. Talk to Shift Paradigm today!