If there’s friction between your marketing and sales teams, it might be due to the way each team is measured. Sales is numbers-driven; performance is measured by quotas you can hit and revenue you can count. Marketing, on the other hand, has always been one of the least-measured functions. This can lead to a lack of accountability for poor performance, which leads to finger pointing, which leads to anger, which leads to hate, which leads to the Dark Side, which, if my research is correct, leads to losing a) your One True Love and b) all of your limbs. Nobody really wants to hire heartbroken and armless sales and marketing personnel, so measurement is very important.
All this is changing with the introduction of lead management capabilities in marketing automation platforms. Justifying investments in marketing and lead nurturing requires some measurable, accountable return, which should be tied to the same numbers sales is responsible for. With the right technologies, marketers can correlate how marketing contributes to the pipeline and to revenue, demonstrating marketing ROI.
Setting realistic marketing ROI expectations
If marketing and sales agree on standardized definitions for lead classifications, measurement and accountability for revenue can be shared by both functions. Shared understanding means the flow from lead to prospect is much smoother, and both functions can be more efficient and effective. Lead nurturing campaigns should provide answers to the following questions, which are directly tied to ROI:
How many Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) did marketing nurture over a given period of time?
- This metric can be used to justify marketing spend and demonstrate how many opportunities marketing has been influencing over a given period of time. Sales reps can’t argue that they did all the work, and marketers can prove their worth to the organization.
How many of the MQL became Sales Accepted Leads (SAL) over a given period of time?
- This is a conversion metric. “MQL-to-SAL Conversion” is a key measure of the effectiveness of lead nurturing campaigns. This measure is a litmus test for the quality of the marketing material that is being used in lead nurturing campaigns.
- Periodic benchmarking can alert marketers to campaigns that perform poorly so immediate, real-time changes can be made and optimized.
How many of the SAL became Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)?
- If the organization has settled on the correct benchmarks and definitions for SAL and SQL, then sales reps should be delighted to receive leads from marketing. Ideally, SAL-to-SQL conversion should be 75% or above.
How many of the SAL closed and how much revenue was associated with these leads?
- There is no better measure of ROI for marketers than closed revenue on leads that would have otherwise been ignored by the sales organization because they did not provide a short-term revenue opportunity.
What’s your experience? Do you find that a 75 % conversion rate for SAL to SQL is achievable? What’s your most effective way to measure marketing ROI? Let us know. .