Welcome to Q4. CMO’s around the world are taking a big sigh of relief and shifting focus to building pipeline for the next calendar years as sales is effortlessly closing the softball opportunities Marketing has served up on a silver platter. If only that were true.

The reality is CMO’s and their sales leader counterparts are felling extreme stress from the weighing pressure of the annual revenue or bookings targets. In many cases the relationship between marketing and sales is most tested during Q4. Sales leaders have become exhausted with detailed “activity” reporting from marketing leaders highlighting all the great leads, while sales is on the other side completely fixated on late stage opportunities. You can see the disconnect here.

 

Without pointing fingers there are a slew of reasons us marketing leaders find ourselves in this situation, I personally have been there many times. In my experience, the road to marketing and sales disconnect in Q4 is paved with three types of stones.

 

Download the Q4 Blog Tool to spark some creative ideas for your bottom-of-funnel marketing team and leverage a list of tactics to get you jump started.

 

Over Emphasis on Top-Of-Funnel

 

There is no disputing the importance of brining net new leads into the funnel. However, as stewards of the customer experience we must plan for the entire lifecycle of a lead. The habit of handing a lead off to sales and then turning your back to responsibility of co-owning the lead throughout the funnel in the name of more top-of-funnel leads needs to stop. CMO’s cannot afford to leave the destiny of a lead solely in sales hands. Not because sales isn’t capable, but because the customer demands consistent well informed touchpoints throughout their buying cycle.

 

Looking outside the top-of-funnel approach requires a deep understanding of data, sales process, and most importantly buyer expectations.

 

These are critical for any CMO to understand, however when looking beyond the top-of-funnel they need to be aligned with the sales leaders. In fact, the middle and bottom-of-funnel typically split ownership between:

 

  • Marketing: End-to-end

     

  • Business Development: Top-of-funnel, Middle-of-funnel

     

  • Sales: Middle-of-funnel, Bottom-of-funnel

     

  • Account Management: Bottom-of-funnel, Top-of-funnel

     

Buyer data and insights need to be collected and analyzed at each touchpoint of the buyers journey to develop a 360 view of the buyers behaviors and expectations. At the same time, marketing and sales leaders need to cross-reference the and align the buyers expectations to the sales process, ensuring alignment in ownership, messaging and tactics.

 

Inability to Collect, Analyze and Report on the Right Data

 

If there is one benefit from the oversaturation of marketing technology, its all the fancy reporting tools. But lets be honest with ourselves, all the colorful and complex reporting means nothing to sales and the executive leadership team. The reality is they care more about seeing simple accurate data that informs them on making important business decisions. I can guarantee you they are not looking for MCL to MQL conversion data. It is our job as marketers to be maniacal about data collection at every single interaction or touchpoint with the customer. This includes collecting and aggregating data outside of our department. As with most organizations today, there is no shortage of data, if fact it’s the excessive amounts of data that make this difficult.

 

This drives the importance for cross-functional alignment across departments on the critical KPI’s that doesn’t just inform “what happened?” but, “what needs to happen?” because of the data.

 

Lack of Bottom-Of-Funnel Tactics

 

This is a harsh reality for many organizations. All of the creativity that marketing brings to the table is focused on delighting and engaging buyers very early on. Then as they begin to show interest and begin to actively engage, marketing disappears, and sales is left alone to convert with the heroic efforts of an individual. They old saying: it takes a village to raise a child, holds true for leads. It takes in entire company to develop a lead to an opportunity to a customer to an advocate. Marketing is involved at every step and as such needs to have programs, campaigns and tactics at each stage.

 

The great news is bottom-of-funnel marketing is more fun and arguably easier than top-of-funnel lead generation. The customers are already engaged (pat on the back) and ownership is split between two parties. Beats the heck out of the constant rejection at the top-of-funnel. Keep in mind that split ownership can cause confusion and the potential for balls to be dropped and wires to cross. That is why clean and accurate data is paramount along with good organization and communication.

 

The Bottom-of-funnel tool can help spark some creative ideas.

 

Download the Q4 Blog Tool to spark some creative ideas for your bottom-of-funnel marketing team and leverage a list of tactics to get you jump started.

 


 

Additional Resources

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Randall LaVeau

Leverages the SBI Benchmarking methodology to help companies make the number.

Randall has over 10 years of experience developing scalable sales and marketing programs that range from demand generation to website optimization and sales effectiveness. He has created, coordinated and executed lead generation plans, programs and campaigns for new customer acquisition and existing customer retention. Additionally, Randall developed and managed advanced integrated marketing plans, translating innovative concepts into actionable strategy to enhance brand and product positioning and drive revenue. Randall’s skills include marketing strategy, lead generation, persona development, inside sales team development, sales coaching and sales enablement.

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