Stop the battle: bring marketing & sales together to double revenues like Dashly did

Reading time: 16.06.2021
Stop the battle: bring marketing & sales together to double revenues like Dashly did

We all know that the sales team’s major KPI is the number of closed deals, while the marketing team’s one is the number of leads collected. In pursuit of their KPIs, marketers often acquire so cold leads that sales reps are never going to sell anything. That sets off a lose-lose battle where marketers spend thousands of dollars on low-quality campaigns and sales reps waste time on customers who are not going to buy anything. Eventually, the company loses money.

We’ve talked to Polina, Growth Marketer, and Paul, Head of Sales at Dashly to learn from their experience. They talked about mistakes that they found in teamwork and how they approached them. Instead of hiring an extra sales force and wasting money on ads, the teams aligned on their collaboration.

Mistake one: Ignoring what your customer is going through

Lead generation is usually the responsibility of marketers. They pass the collected leads to sales reps. The challenge is that both teams have no idea of what’s going on with a customer on other stages. Sales reps don’t know if leads collected by marketers are hot or cold, and marketers don’t know what happens with their leads later as they continue running ads and collecting low-quality leads who don’t buy anything.

‎When a sales rep calls 100 people and only talks to five of them, it’s frustrating and discouraging. It just means wasting your life on calls that are screened on the other side. Marketing and sales teams should collaborate to avoid that frustrating situation. Sales reps should give feedback to marketers after calling the leads. This will help improve the performance of marketing campaigns and increase sales without hiring an additional sales force.

Paul
Head of Sales at Dashly

How it used to be:

There are two major funnels in Dashly.

Self-service: a user journeys from signing up to paying for the platform on their own. It’s also called an auto funnel.

Sales funnel: after a user signs up, a sales rep calls to convert them to a paid plan.

Lead Qualification
Dashly’s lead qualification and scoring funnels

Marketers didn’t even think about that part of the funnel that the sales reps were in charge of. This year, we looked at how leads converted to payment and it dawned on us that team collaboration is definitely a growth area for us.

How we fixed that:

We built our current funnel in marketing and sales. Using a board in Miro, we described how leads convert to signups and demos, and what sales reps were doing on each stage. We also measured the current conversion rates of all stages.

Lead scoring

Part of the funnel where marketers accompany users to sales

I fully appreciate how the funnel is working and how I influence the company’s revenue. When I know what happens to leads that I collect, I am able to plan my work because I see what works and what doesn’t. I can truly see what may bring success or not.

Polina
Growth Marketer at Dashly

When marketers explored how the sales team dealt with customers, they adjusted the algorithm they used to pass leads to sales:

  1. They warn sales about the upcoming lead campaign. Sales reps have their day-to-day tasks, and they can’t just give up their work to call 400 leads quickly.
  2. Marketers tell more about the campaign to make calls effective. Sales reps should know about the offer to see what makes their leads interested.
  3. When qualifying a lead, you should determine their role in a company so sales reps know how to talk to them. Your lead may be a product manager, a marketer, sales team lead, support team lead, or even a CEO.
  4. In a special Slack channel, marketers inform sales reps about the campaign start. They tell who they are acquiring and how many of them, and when sales reps need to call them. Marketers also need to specify the SLA. When the sales team approves it, marketers start the campaign.

We created a checklist in Notion:

Marketing campaigns

Leads go from Dashly to amoCRM via the standard integration

The sales team also rearranged some processes. They assigned an MDR — a manager responsible for primary lead qualification. If a user leaves their real phone number, a manager calls them to find out their objectives, traffic volume, and role in a company. If we can solve the user’s tasks — an MDR schedules a demo session and assigns the lead to another sales rep for a more detailed conversation.

I once had an amazing revelation: there’s life in sales! Customers got things going on! If they don’t sell, users still convert to signing up and payments much better after they talk to our sales reps. That’s why I would say guiding people through sales is cool.

Polina
Growth Marketer at Dashly

Mistake two: Not hypothesizing together

Teams working asynchronously set different objectives. Marketers launch campaigns and collect leads, and sales do their best to convert leads to deals. When a company can’t generate the desired revenues, the question arises: are sales reps bad at their work, or do marketers collect low-quality leads?

‎Marketing and sales teams should have mutual hypotheses so sales can get better prepared for the campaign and appreciate the hypothesis. It’s important to listen to each other so sales don’t just call leads like robots, but rather give feedback on which hypotheses worked and which didn’t

Paul
Head of Sales at Dashly

How it used to be:

Marketers only cared about metrics in advertising accounts and had no clue of what was happening to their leads. The team didn’t know how much they were going to earn. Hence, the team didn’t know how much they could invest in advertising.

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How we fixed that:

We approached our marketing campaigns differently.

You need to know your funnel to budget your marketing. The teams learned about unit economics. Each campaign is treated as a hypothesis. Marketers know their key metrics on each stage, and how many leads will convert to buying. This helps us avoid campaigns that we know will not pay off. Some campaigns only need to be launched if our sales team works on the leads.

Hypothesis example:

If we run a retargeting campaign in Facebook Ads saying “Learn to increase the number of leads using Dashly” and collect demo requests in the Facebook lead form using automatic placements with a static image, we’ll get five demo requests for less than $10.

Mistake three: Not giving feedback

When marketing passes leads to sales, we need to know if we collected quality leads. We can collect many leads that won’t convert. This campaign should be stopped in time so that the team’s time and money are not wasted.

How it used to be:

Marketers passed leads to sales in a chaotic manner: we did a webinar → we saw how many people signed up after it → the very few of them did → what should we do next?

We decided to ask sales to call these leads. But sales reps told us that these leads were bad.

‎This is not constructive feedback. Not all 400 leads were bad, but the marketing team couldn’t get higher quality feedback.

Polina
Growth Marketer at Dashly

How we fixed that:

We created a ritual to teach teams to give feedback. The ritual was called “the lead committee”. Marketing and sales teams participated in these meetings. Sales reps reported all leads they got from the marketing team over the last one or two weeks. Then, teams discussed how many leads are on a particular stage of the funnel, how many of them bounced, how many deals are closed, and how the remaining leads should be processed.

It took us long to get used to it. In one of the meetings, we simply discussed how we were going to interpret the results, what was missing in the report draft, and we still continue doing it. We now see what we need in our funnel, what we should do to meet our goals, and how things work together. Both teams now understand what marketers should do to pass high-quality leads to sales.

Paul
Head of Sales at Dashly

Let’s say 80% of the campaign leads didn’t proceed to demos because they didn’t even have their websites. It means we shouldn’t scale this campaign because it brings us bad leads.

If leads are not ready for a demo yet, there’s a chance to “nurture” them. Marketers jump in on each stage, for example, sending personalized emails to each segment.

Polina’s case:

I once had a case with a messenger campaign. Metrics on the platform were not super cool. Only 11% of the audience clicked the link, and we got 15 requests for a demo. This may seem a small number. But then these 15 requests converted well. The majority of leads wanted to use our product. One deal pays off all campaign expenses. For me, this was unexpected feedback. I thought the campaign was bad, but the sales told me otherwise. Our “lead committee” is a great source of feedback where I can see how good our campaigns are.

Mistake four: not scoring leads

Marketers can collect thousands of leads in just one campaign. A sales rep’s call with a potential customer usually lasts for one hour. If all collected leads are passed to sales, they just won’t be physically able to process all of them.

That’s why we needed to evaluate leads that marketers pass to sales. This would make the sales reps’ work easier as they would know who to call first.

How leads are scored and passed in Dashly

We invented the term “valid lead” meaning:

  1. They have a website.
  2. They have a certain volume of traffic.
  3. We can engage the person.
  4. They have tasks that our platform can solve.

If a valid lead rejects a demo proposal from a sales rep, they go through a self-service funnel and configure the platform on their own.

If we can’t mark a lead as “valid”, we pass it to marketing for “nurturing”, and an MDR emails them:

Demo Email
A nurturing email from an MDR

If marketers need sales reps to call certain leads, they set up Slack notifications via the integration with Dashly. These are high-priority leads for sales reps.

Collecting “valid leads”

We use our own tools for that purpose:

1. Qualification Leadbot offering a demo. If a user agrees, Leadbot qualifies them and records the data to the lead card in Dashly.

Leadbot for marketing

Qualification Leadbot on the Dashly’s page with plans

2. Lead filtration in the CRM or lead scoring. You can filter out leads you consider “valid” using filters:

All leads collected — 9 975
All leads collected — 9 975
Scored leads — 20 left, but these are target ones
Scored leads — 20 left, but these are target ones

Mistake five: having no idea of who you are selling to

When teams see the product audience differently, they set different objectives. That was our case before we described the buyer personas. If teams can’t set the right objectives, they can’t develop a customer strategy. As a result, they lose money.

How we fixed that in Dashly

We defined the ICP which is the Ideal Customer Profile.

For us, these are the companies:

  • From a particular segment;
  • Operating in particular markets;
  • Having substantial website traffic;
  • Having certain company roles.

The ICP concept can be used to find leads, position your product, or set up an ad campaign.

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We mostly stick to the ICP when looking for customers. We know for sure what companies we’re looking for. We have success stories to show them and we know how to meet their needs. When we collect a lead from the ICP company, we match the person’s role to the key buyer personas. It helps us understand what tasks they have and what we can offer. During a meeting, our sales reps can tell the lead’s objectives and their pains from similar stories. If a customer confirms that it’s their case, sales reps describe how we can solve their issues.

This model helps our marketing teams design campaigns and formulate offers to acquire new customers.

Marketer pains

Pains of a marketer

This is a part of a presentation with pains that Dashly can cure

‎We wanted to work closely with sales because we did JTBD research and we found out how we can sell more. We needed to tell our sales fellows what we learned and help them sort things out.

Polina
Growth Marketer at Dashly

Passing quality leads to sales: the checklist

  1. Describe your target leads so sales reps consider them valid. Define the ICP and the buyer personas.
  2. Define where you can find these people and what you can offer them.
  3. Remove leads with incorrect data, for example, invalid phone numbers.
  4. Prioritize leads using these criteria.
  5. Find active leads, like the ones who read some of your emails. Then choose the ones who visited your website. You’ll have a list of the most and the least perspective leads to work on.
  6. Collect feedback from sales. Then, decide on your campaign based on metrics that are close to the end of the funnel, not the ones from your advertising account.

Advice from Paul:

Team up to sell more, that’s good for business. Even a small sales team can sell more if they work on good leads that marketers qualify. Don’t overman. Communicate and automate qualification and the process of passing leads from marketing to sales.