It’s that time again. Time to start “hitting the gym” and “saving money.” I’m as guilty as the next guy of, every year, making a few empty resolutions of my own. By the time February rolls around, it’s back to the old routine.

The best resolutions are the ones that stick, the ones that become habits. According to Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, the best way to mold a New Year’s resolution into a habit is to follow this formula combining a cue, behavior (routine), and reward:

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So, if we set out to make sales and marketing alignment a habit according to this formula, what would the different components be?

CUE: A weekly meeting or dashboard that all stakeholders reference is a good place to start. A misalignment on definitions is one of the most common blockers preventing sales and marketing from using the same dashboard. If marketing says, “We generated 1,000 leads last week. Why did only 200 get phone calls?” sales may respond “…only about 300 of those leads were qualified Sales Leads, and we were only alerted about 200 of those.”

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BEHAVIOR: Now that you’re properly tagging leads and have agreed on what you want to measure, it’s time to get into the habit of calibrating your tactics and processes. For example, if you’re a B2B company, you may want to look at these marketing-to-sales metrics:

  • # of new marketing qualified leads (MQLs) by segment or industry
  • Marketing lead-routing time or sales follow-up time for MQLs
  • % MQLs for net-new companies vs. MQLs for existing companies in CRM
  • # appointments set from MQLs
  • % MQLs disqualified (and reason for disqualification)
  • $ revenue, marketing sourced or marketing assisted (by segment or channel)
  • CRM data duplication rate and lead whitespace analysis

You can use this data to habitually align and improve. This stage is like the working out or eating salad part of your resolution. It’s easy to ignore what the data is telling you and fall back into the same old habits, so this is the step that takes the most discipline!

Ask the tough questions:

  • Are a high percentage of your MQLs getting disqualified? Is your MQL formula correct? What channels produce higher quality leads to which you can allocate additional budget?
  • How quickly are sales reps following up with leads? Are there too few or too many leads? Can we better tune our MQL definition or automate to improve productivity?
  • Is marketing-assisted revenue on target? Are the number of leads being moved to nurture status decreasing? Are there adoption issues with your process?

REWARD: Celebrate and share wins. Don’t forget why we’re all here: to create lots of happy customers. Small and large accomplishments towards that end shouldn’t be overlooked. Rewards can come in all flavors: bonuses and commissions, recognition emails and announcements, group celebrations, dinner, or drinks.

So here’s to you achieving all your sales and marketing goals this year and making alignment a habit!

Facebook_600_data_newcopyFor more tips on this topic, join me and our friends over at Datanyze for a free webinar: B2B Marketing Success: Aligning marketing and sales to build a demand gen machine.

See you there!