Sales operations and marketing operations tend to work separately, each focusing on their own priorities. It is not unusual to find missed opportunities to share insight, information and experience that could result in improved sales productivity (which is everyone’s objective) Here are two areas where marketing and sales operations professionals can improve performance.

Annual Planning

Surprisingly, the planning process for sales and marketing typically occurs without a great deal of collaboration between the two organizations, to the detriment of both. The development of annual sales and marketing plans is a great opportunity for both teams to collaborate and ensure that each organization’s plans are developed with awareness of the other’s priorities. Here are some elements of the planning process to share:

  • An early view of marketing’s proposed campaigns and initiatives and their relative scope establishes the basis for sales’ understanding of marketing’s priorities.
  • Expected revenue or bookings by region may impact the allocation of field marketing program funds and shared services.
  • Expected revenue by channel should help guide investment in partner marketing.
  • Expected revenue by product impacts campaign themes, allocation of resources by demand type and launch planning efforts.
  • Marketing and sales operations should convene early in the planning process to share their goals with each other. They should then take that information back to their planning teams. They should reconvene after the plans are developed for an interlock, prior to completion and approval.

    Periodic Reporting

    In many organizations, marketing operations prepares reports that focus on marketing’s key performance indicators, and sales operations prepares reports that focus on the pipeline and the near-term view of business. Combining both of these important reports enables each organization to understand the value chain of marketing and sales combined. Here are examples of information that can be shared:

    • Combine marketing sourced and influenced pipeline with sales pipeline value, velocity and volume to provide insight into overall pipeline dynamics. Knowing what is working through the pipeline and what stimulated the activity can only help the selling process. The feedback to marketing is essential in helping tune marketing efforts.
    • Marketing pipeline investment to revenue and sales forecast accuracy and predictability information combine to provide a greater sense of the integrated nature of how marketing’s investment is driving revenue and the true cost of generating sales.
    • Blend waterfall metrics (inquiries, qualified leads, etc.) with sales operations reports on the source and quality of leads to provide a better understanding of leads that are converting to business. This helps marketing focus on driving more of the leads that the sales organization wants.
    • It might be surprising to imagine two organizations that have such closely aligned interests operating in silos, but the urgency of their efforts and their immediate focus can cause them to overlook the advantage of explicit periodic coordination around planning and reporting topics. Marketing and sales operations have information that, when combined, can provide a holistic view of the sales and marketing ecosystem. Making an effort to coordinate on a periodic basis is a small price to pay for the insight that can be gained.