When we talk about ROI, we often think about it through a marketing prism. How much is your company investing in marketing efforts? How have those tactics and investments impacted your bottom line? It is the marketing department that tends to be expected to track these things since it’s the marketing department that invests the money into different marketing tactics. The reality, of course, is that measuring the effectiveness of your marketing requires at the very least some input from sales. This is difficult to accomplish in many companies because the sales team works in a parallel world to the marketing team. Sales concentrates on nurturing leads, making active sales calls, and more. Interfacing with marketing does not happen often. This distance is sometimes further exacerbated by a sense of competition between sales and marketing. When sales increase, both teams may strive to take credit for the win. When sales decrease, finger pointing often ensues.
If you want to focus on relationships, make friends with your sales force
Last week we talked about how many marketers are confused about how to track ROI when so much emphasis in the online world is placed upon relationship-building. The fact of the matter is that the first people you need to befriend are the people on your sales team. There are numerous reasons why marketing and sales need to be able to work seamlessly together. Among those reasons are:
• Sales can let marketing know when sales are spiking. Marketing can look at recent initiatives and the two departments together can see if there is a cause/effect relationship between certain tactics and increases in sales
• Sales can report to marketing whether leads generated from certain tactics are high quality or not. This requires a collaborative effort between both departments to find a way to track leads from specific tactics, of course.
• A collaboration between sales and marketing can help prevent mixed messages. Potential customers will get the same “pitch” whether in person from a sales representative or whether via an ad in a trade publication.
The list goes on and on.
It’s not just measuring leads that matters
As marketers, we often get distracted by tracking “leads.” We think that if we are generating leads, we are doing our jobs. Ultimately, that is the best that marketing can generate often times, and then those leads are handed over to the sales team for nurturing and conversion. However, to be truly effective, marketers need to understand how many of the leads they are delivering are actually converting into sales. That is where the true ROI is found, no matter what marketing tactic you are talking about. A marketing tactic that generates 500 “clicks” still may not be generate any sales, ultimately. Sales needs to communicate this kind of information to marketing on a regular basis so that plans can be shifted to create more of an impact and to be more effective. Obviously if a company sells products with a long sales cycle (capital equipment for example), tracking leads to sales is even more difficult.
There have been numerous surveys lately that have reported that CMOs are predominantly clueless as to how to track the ROI of what they are doing for their companies. Part of this most certainly rests on the shoulders of the CMO him or herself, but sales should also be held to the fire a little. True ROI measurement depends upon sales and marketing collaborating, communicating, and cooperating. If your company does not currently claim that kind of relationship between the two departments, true measuring of your marketing efforts will remain elusive.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/safari_vacation/7496765660/ via Creative Commons