The Yellowstep Team By The Yellowstep Team • May 28, 2015

Building a sales and marketing machine: Growing your manufacturing business through clear objectives


Many manufacturing companies still rely heavily on their sales teams for generating leads and winning new business, without aligning the role of the marketing team to manage the beginning of the lead generation process.

Marketing and sales teams may not always get along, but they are both necessary for success in business. In fact, without marketing sales would struggle to make its numbers, while marketing would not have the budget to function if sales failed to do its job. This is why it is so important for businesses to bring these two disciplines together in order to achieve growth.

Manufacturing businesses need to focus on implementing successful sales oriented marketing campaigns using both sales and marketing teams working in harmony to achieve conversions and demonstrate real ROI.

Need more understanding of key metrics required to meet your marketing objectives? Make sure you read this article once you've finished here!

The SLA Solution

So if your sales and marketing team don't always see eye to eye, how do you get them on the same page? A service level agreement (SLA) offers you a way to create an agreement between sales and marketing. As well as helping make marketing more accountable for delivering ROI, an SLA gives sales a way to demonstrate that they are using the leads marketing is generating effectively.

Here's 3 important things your SLA should cover:

1. Agree metrics:

Marketing and sales often follow very different metrics, part of which explains why they struggle to understand one another. Creating metrics that both can agree on is an important part of improving their interaction, and aligning sales and marketing activities with your business goals.

Take your business goal for the year...perhaps it's a specific revenue number you need to reach. Think of that number and work backwards from it to define your sales and marketing metrics:

  • What's your average order value from a sale?
  • Taking this average, how many sales do you need to get to reach your revenue target?
  • How many of your marketing leads convert to sale. If it's 1 in 5 you'll need 5x this number of leads
  • Where do your leads come from? Using online lead generation as an example, consider how many of your website visitors convert to leads, if it's 1 in 50, you'll need 50x this amount of traffic to your website. 

Agree these metrics with your sales teams, once you know how many leads are required, you'll be able to task marketing with a clear goal of how many leads are required. It's also worth considering what qualifies a lead, which brings us onto our next point:

2. Fully define the lead nurturing process

The SLA is also a great opportunity to clarify the full lead nurturing process. What point should marketing be passing on leads to sales? Marketing should keep ownership of leads until they are sales ready, but metrics need to be used to define what sales ready actually means.

Use measures such as BANT (budget, authority, need and timing) to define leads as marketing qualified to ensure sales teams aren't spending time following up leads that will never close. Equally well, it's important that marketing keep hold of leads who aren't yet ready to buy: Having an eager sales person badger a prospect who's not yet made up their mind can kill what may have become a positive customer relationship. 

When sales and marketing understand the process of each department, and they understand where the transitions between them occur, they can function more as a whole. 

3. How sales teams should follow up leads

If you are going to start scrutinising the effects that marketing is having on the revenue generation process, you are going to need to verify that sales is doing its part. Marketing is only half of the equation, after all.

The SLA should also define the timetable in which sales teams use the information given to them by marketing.

The first five minutes are critical to higher contact and qualification rates. If leads are responded to in fewer than five minutes, the odds of contacting them are 100x higher than waiting 30 minutes

Your SLA should set a clear a time frame for following up leads, as well as a standard for how many times those leads are followed up on if the first attempt is unsuccessful. Remember, the recommended number of follow up attempts is between six and nine calls, depending on the lead type. By making six to nine attempts, you get 90%+ value out of the lead.

Need a good place to start?

So now you've got your SLA, but how do you start generating all these new leads you need to grow? This checklist will give your sales and marketing teams a clear step-by-step process of how to run a successful inbound marketing campaign to do just that.