Sales says “we need more leads”. Marketing says “we aren’t responsible for whether or not sales knows how to close”.
This may make you laugh, or cry, depending on how your own sales and marketing teams function. But conversations like this are far from uncommon – we hear it all the time. When this type of discord arises, teams often look externally to pinpoint the problem, often deciding that their marketing/sales tool is to blame. These platforms may be an easy scapegoat, but switching to a new tool won’t make the issues disappear.
This year, our firm became Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultants (yay!). While we have always considered ourselves to be Salesforce and Pardot experts, this took us to a new level of insight. Marketing and sales alignment is vital to the health of any business – but creating true alignment requires clear processes, constant communication and a single, defined strategy. Easier said than done, but far from impossible if you have the right tools (and team) in place.
After helping dozens of businesses define this process, we found that most teams experience similar issues when it comes to implementing Pardot and Salesforce. So, we want to help.
Here are the top myths of Pardot and Salesforce and how to fix them in your organization:
1. Myth #1 Segmentation is for marketing to handle.
This is one of the most common pitfalls of managing marketing automation effectively (especially regarding Pardot and Salesforce segmentation). It is true, marketing will handle the bulk of segmentation, but to be sure you are marketing to the right people at the right time, sales has to play an active role in the process.
For example – you probably don’t want to be sending news about promos or discounts to paying customers, right? If sales fails to accurately mark every closed-won account, you’ll end up with paying customers on your marketing list. Ouch.
That is an obvious example, but what about the less obvious scenarios?
- Feature Based List Addition – Sales will have direct conversation with leads and hear first hand what features the leads are actually interested in. Do you have feature-based lists available for sales to add leads to? If you do, marketing can send feature-specific content that fits the unique interests of each lead.
- Not Ready – Sales may determine a contact is not quite ready to close but needs some nurture to reengage in the future. Sales will need access to add that contact to a nurture program or list.
What About Partners? – Do you want to send partners and referrals the same content you are sending your leads? Does Sales have a way to add new partners and referrals to a list for you to later suppress?
- Where Are the Churned Customers Going? – This is surprisingly the list almost every team forgets to create because it is often customer success managing cancellations. Regardless of which team handles cancellations, be sure they are adding every churned account to a churned list so marketing does not continue blasting them with tips, tricks and newsletters. These churned customers will be the first to hit the SPAM button if you continue emailing them after they choose to leave.
There are countless scenarios, but the key is to ensure that sales knows what they are responsible for doing when it comes to adding or removing contacts and leads to lists.
Our suggestion? Be intentional with which lists you make visible to sales – only give them access to the lists they are responsible for helping update. That way, it is as easy as possible to add leads to the right list quickly.
Myth #2: Once we integrate the two systems, every lead will pass from marketing to sales automatically.
This is one of the most common misconceptions we hear. Yes, you can set up the integration to sync between systems, but it is up to you to determine how and when every lead and contact will be passed between Pardot and Salesforce.
To truly automate this process, you must first identify each point for a lead to convert. Are they coming in through a Request a Demo form on your website? A landing page? Or, is sales sourcing them from lists? The way a lead gets into the system will determine what actions are required to pass them from one platform to the other.
The next question is when. When will a lead in Pardot get passed into Salesforce? Will it be after every form completion? Or only after they reach a specific score? Answering this will force you to think through and understand everything from scoring to completion actions and automation rules.
Our suggestion? Get into a room with a whiteboard and identify every possible entry point for a lead. Then determine what should happen on each unique entry point (increase score, pass immediately to sales, assign via Salesforce active assignment rules, etc…). Finally, decide what type of message they need to receive after converting. Is it a direct outreach, autoresponder, addition to a nurture program? This will ensure that no lead gets left in marketing purgatory and each is followed up with at the right time by the right people.
Did you know that prospects in Pardot will not sync to Salesforce unless they are first assigned? So if you do not think through how this assignment will happen, you will have a bunch of hot leads with no follow through…and probably a whole lot of angry sales reps that missed their chance to land a deal. So be sure every conversion point has an action for assignment.
Myth #3: Marketing and sales alignment is optional or can be “handled in our annual offsite.”
Marketing and sales alignment cannot be achieved in a single, 3-hour discovery session that happens a few times a year. Marketing and sales alignment is an ongoing process that requires constant attention and adjustment.
The job of the marketing team is to generate qualified leads that will close business for the company. To generate these leads, marketers leverage outlets like social media, landing pages, blogs, ebooks, whitepapers, email campaigns, nurture programs and a plethora of other channels. But sales is on the front lines of the close. They know what works, what doesn’t, what caused the lead to re-engage and what resources they need to close the business.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know if leads from a certain outlet always closed? Or that leads from another never turn to opportunities? Marketing cannot work in a silo. If you are not actively seeking input from your sales teams, you are most likely underutilizing the channels that work best while leaving piles of revenue on the table.
Our suggestion? Designate a marketing and a sales lead to carry the bulk of the communications. They can handle small issues like lead syncing, completion actions or qualification adjustments. Then plan on a quarterly meeting with key members of your sales and marketing team to get in a room and discuss what works, what doesn’t and what sales needs to close more business.
This meeting accomplishes two things:
- Marketing walks away with a gold mine of insights into how to better convert and engage leads.
- Sales gains confidence and walks away excited about all marketing is doing to help them win business.
At the end of the day, both sales and marketing exist with the same goal in mind – to grow the company. Achieving this goal and the small milestones along the way will be far easier if they talk to and trust each other.
As an agency, we sit in an amazing role to help facilitate this marketing and sales alignment.
We get to be a neutral third party to restore communication or optimize systems. And trust us when we say – paying attention to this alignment pays off.
The business and clients that use Pardot and Salesforce well (or tools like them) far exceed, both in size and revenue, the ones that do not. Our job as Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultants is to help create a system that works for your needs so you can dominate your market and scale faster.
If you want more insights like these or need help implementing these tools for your business, let us know – we would love to help you become automation experts to grow your business faster.