According to HubSpot, 39% of marketers say proving the ROI of their marketing activities is their top marketing challenge.
Statistics aside, even anecdotally, the age-old battle of sales and marketing is centered around proving the value of ROI and activity from the often separate teams. Before you can begin to prove ROI, however, you need to determine collectively, which metrics are worth tracking.
Abnormalities in data, whether spikes or declines, can point to issues, gaps, and ultimately, misalignment. Smarketing is everything but a ‘fix it and forget it’ initiative. Measuring sales and marketing alignment may differ slightly from company to company, but there are several KPIs that hold value across the board. Here are six key KPIs for sales and marketing alignment we recommend keeping an eye on.
1. Overall Revenue
Every company’s end game is to make money, therefore, everyone should be working towards the common goal of generating revenue. At Action19, we heard Josh Fedie say sales is everyone’s job. And he’s right. Revenue and sales are everybody’s job and everybody’s business quite literally.
For smarketing purposes, the overall revenue metric can be broken down a little further into marketing-sourced revenue. For example, how many leads that came in from paid social became customers? How much revenue did the customer from paid social generate? You can follow a similar deep dive across traffic sources and evaluate each channel.
2. Sales Cycle Length
Tenfold names the sales cycle length as one of the most important KPIs for sales and marketing alignment to track. Here’s the reason they said it makes their list. “The total length of the sales cycle has important consequences that ripple throughout the entire organization and shortening the buying cycle is usually particularly important to the sales and marketing teams in order to minimize bottlenecks in the process.”
In theory, the shorter the sales cycle, the more qualified the lead. Tenfold goes on to say that the tracking shouldn’t stop at just the length of the cycle overall; you should look at each stage individually to determine lags and gaps in the process.
3. Marketing Qualified Leads
HubSpot defines a marketing qualified lead (MQL) as a lead who has been deemed more likely to become a customer compared to other leads. Why? They have taken a specific set of actions and or they fit the lead criteria, like role or ideal company size. The criteria qualifying MQLs are set by both sales and marketing and are part of the foundation of the SLA. Tracking MQLs as one of your main KPIs can help you determine if your team is moving in the right direction with generating quality leads.
4. Marketing Qualified Leads to Sales Qualified Leads Conversion Rate
This conversion rate speaks to the building blocks of the sales and marketing SLA, the point in which sales evaluates leads that marketing deems qualified.
How leads are actually handed off to sales (typically by using software to automate the process) varies from business to business, but the value in the conversion rate does not. What is the percentage? How many MQLs are considered quality (an SQL) by sales?
This also points to why it’s critical both sales and marketing buy into the plan. If this number is low, there’s definitely a problem. Regrouping and going back to the basics can help troubleshoot and realign.
5. Content Audit & Usage
Another key KPI to track for sales and marketing alignment is your content. How spot on is it? Does it align with target buyers? Is it attracting the right personas? All of these questions can be answered by digging deep into the data and probing to answer the following key questions about content consumption.
- Which content offers are being downloaded? Which ones aren’t?
- Are your target buyers downloading your offers or is your offer attracting a secondary or tertiary role?
- Out of all of your customers, how many actually downloaded a content offer?
In taking a look at the above you’ll be able to determine if your content is in alignment with sales and marketing and benefiting your overall goals. If it’s not? You might need to consider refreshing your personas or brushing up on some keyword research. Here is a refresher on inbound marketing.
6. End to End Conversion Rate
The end to end conversion rate measures the conversion ratio for the full buyer’s journey from attraction phrase through to closing customers. According to Forbes, “Benchmarked over time this metric highlights leakages and inefficiencies between stages, sales and marketing, and enables more accurate forecasting and target performance setting.”
The more aligned an organization, the more stable the rates and rations. See a spike or dip in the data? Better start digging.
Now that you have your critical KPIs to measure smarketing performance, share and circulate the data amongst the team. Do this quarterly at a minimum. Share the findings, deep dive, optimize, rinse and repeat.