The year is nearly halfway through, and you may already be feeling you're behind in reaching the organization's ambitious 2017 revenue goals. No reason to worry yet, but before your anxiety turns into a mid-year panic attack, it's a good idea to keep your eye on a few key strategic areas.
The following three, when ignored, become some of the most common mistakes that lead to the midyear panic attack.
1. Not Aligning Sales and Marketing Goals
Sounds simple and obvious, but so many organizations don't do it. Why—especially when, according to the TAS Group, misalignment costs B2B companies 10% of revenue per year.
Common symptoms are simply structural; these are two separate functions, and the CEO doesn't hold them accountable for being aligned. Another common reason is they view the sales and marketing relationship as a baton handoff instead of an ongoing partnership: Often, Marketing generates leads, gives them to Sales, and then Sales does its thing.
Steps to avoid misalignment:
- Agree on joint goals at the beginning of the year. If you haven't by now this year, get on it ASAP. As the adage goes, "you get what you measure."
- Have a common, agreed-upon definition of "lead." If you haven't done this in the past, you may need to reset expectations on lead numbers. Most organizations could benefit from having a higher bar for qualifying sales leads. The result may be fewer leads, but higher-quality leads that result in more business and a higher likelihood that Sales will follow up.
- Have a formally defined lead hand-off process. If the marketing department is backing up the lead truck to the sales department and dumping leads on Sales, it's time to redefine your process. What is the follow-up expectation? Within 24 hours? How many touches is the minimum before Sales moves on?
- Measure and refine. Quarterly reviews are recommended, as they give you enough data to see what is working and what is not. They also allow time to change course and affect the remainder of the year.
2. Under-Resourced Plan or Lack of a Plan
Anyone who has pitched the CFO for more money without citing tangible numbers knows that's as effective as fishing in a roadside puddle.