Interim Managers Can Align Marketing and Sales

In over six years as a marketing consultant and interim exec I’ve had many occasions to pro actively work with the head of Sales or Sales Operations to re-engineer opportunity pipelines (aka lead funnel, sales pipeline, etc.). MarketingSherpa and Marketo recently collaborated on an article about how Sales & Marketing can better align to generate and close more leads. The points they make in the article are good advice.

I’ve been successful in this for several reasons. Other interim marketing managers take note.

  1. As a “new guy” I can establish a trusting, working relationship with Sales free of any past acrimony and angst. Plus, I’m objective and bring fresh thinking to the situation.
  2. I share a sense of urgency with Sales; I’m anxious to make improvements quickly because my engagement time is limited. Believe me, Sales appreciates marketing folks who have a sense of urgency.

I also follow an effective process for re-engineering the opportunity pipeline.

  1. I was taught some time ago that the key to defining stages of a pipeline is to identify “observable customer behaviors” that dictate where the opportunity is within the pipeline. Did the customer take the factory tour, or not? Did they request a proposal or not?
  2. Once the stages and triggers of the entire lead gen and sales process are mapped out, I work collaboratively with ales to apply metrics, the conversion ratios between each stage. Yes, this can be tricky.
  3. With metrics in place and knowing what our average revenue per sale or per deal is we can calculate how many contacts, suspects, leads, prospects, etc. we need to generate hit our revenue number. Yep, you may need a separate pipeline for each brand, or product line.
  4. Then, we work collaboratively to assign strategies and tactics to each stage, plus ownership for each. A marketing action plan and sales support plan are the outcomes, not to mention a clear understanding of the process, and a shared vocabulary.
  5. The final steps are making sure the CRM system supports our pipeline stages, and training everyone in sales & marketing on it.
  6. Act, measure, adjust, act, measure, adjust.
1 reply
  1. Bruce Flory
    Bruce Flory says:

    I couldn’t agree with Charles more. I would add to Charles observations one other reason Interim managers are often successful –

    An interim manager’s objective is results not turf building. Take the issue of who’s job it is out of the equation and true magic can occur.


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