This blog’s focus “How do marketing and sales stay aligned during the Q4 crushing process?” is based on a recent webinar we did on Tips for Crushing your Q4 quota, featuring two fantastic thought leaders, Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools and Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing.
In part 4 of this series, we covered the question of “How do you ensure a healthy pipeline so you’re closing the right deals?”
In the final part of this series, we cover “How do marketing and sales stay aligned during the Q4 crushing process?” If you would like to listen to the full audio for each section, please click on the movie at the top of each post.
How do marketing and sales stay aligned during the Q4 crushing process?
In order to crush your Q4 quota, sales will need to make sure that the marketing team is aware of the must-win deals. Every sales rep in every region has must-win deals that they cannot afford to lose. Often, marketing is not aware of what these deals are because they’re not brought in to the loop by sales. So sales teams should be sure to loop in marketing at the start of Q4 and ask them what they think they might be able to do to help bring these deals in. The first step though is for sales to identify what those priority deals are.
A lot of marketers think you know their job is done once the deal is qualified. Traditionally, marketing and sales have divided the pipeline horizontally, with marketing at the top of the funnel, and sales at the bottom of the funnel. But modern enterprise marketers look at that same funnel and think of it as a vertical separation, where sales and marketing each have a role at every stage of the buying journey in the sales process.
Keep marketing and sales in the loop
It’s important to sit down enumerate what the sales role is and what the marketing role is at each of stage of your sales process, and at each stage of the buying journey. In the late stages, when you’ve got pipeline and you’re trying to get those deals across the board, you should outline with your marketing team what exactly you expect them to do. Marketing should know or be made aware of:
- What deals are most important
- What the closing plan is with certain accounts
- Who the decision-makers are
- Who the influencers are
- What additionally needs to be done to build consensus and velocity inside those accounts to get them closed
Where are the push backs? Where are the objections? Where are the roadblocks? That’s not just a sales conversation, that’s a sales and marketing conversation.
In sum, sales and marketing should know what everyone’s job is at every stage of the pipeline, top to bottom, as that will help both teams stay aligned. And a good starting point is an understanding of responsibilities and roles.
Another great way for marketing and sales to stay aligned is to not put the burden of qualifying a great number of prospects onto a sales rep’s shoulders. Those reps should be focused on closing deals in Q4. Q4 is not the time to be working a ton of leads.
Aim to increase active selling time
One of the measures in sales enablement success, whether sales enablement is driven by the sales organization or by marketing, is an increase in active selling time – helping your reps spend more time actively selling in front of target prospects.
So if you look at the impact that technology can have, that better data can have, or that repeatable predictable processes can have, those should all together help increase active selling time. Even a marginal increase in active selling time across a large sales organization can make a phenomenal difference. So an increase in active selling time should be as much of a marketing goal as it is a sales goal.
For Q4, marketers should focus on campaigns or programs they can put together that will help move forward stagnant deals, and that will help get these “stuck” prospects commit to closing the deal this year.
What can sales and marketing do to get the most out of trade show season?
Marketers tend to think of events as awareness and lead generation drivers. But if you’re going into Q4 and you’ve got a longer sales cycle than 2-3 months, then Q4 events are not going to help your Q4 closings.
Therefore, marketers should partner with the sales team to look at Q4 events as an opportunity to sit down and spend more time with existing prospects, to get some face time in. Find out if multiple people on a prospect’s buying committee are going to be at a conference and then focus planning around scheduling a meeting so the full team can get together in a room. These Q4 event-based meetings can help accelerate the path of building consensus and commitment on your prospect’s buying committee and motivate the deal toward closure.
In Q4, marketers should not just focus on a getting greater volume of leads for the top of the pipeline. Instead, marketers should use those events to build greater velocity for the deals that exist already in the funnel. Marketers can also use an AI solution to respond to your event leads right away, so you can increase your likelihood of winning that deal.
How can marketing help sales get more meetings scheduled?
Marketing can help ensure that focused meeting invites are going out, and that there’s context and clearly communicated value for the prospect. What’s something you can offer that prospect in a meeting that’s something they would have paid for, in terms of insight or additional information that will help make them smarter or better?
It’s important to think through that, just like you would do for any marketing campaign, to compel someone to not only sign up for a meeting, but also to show up for that meeting. The no-show rates for meetings at events can be high. So having something valuable enough at your meeting to get the prospect to show up is also key.
Fortunately, you can leverage AI to set up your trade show meetings, schedule conversations at the trade show, then follow up with these prospects after the show to thank them for their time. AI solutions can even set up follow-up meetings for you after the trade show has ended.
What should you be thinking about now to set your sales and marketing teams up for success?
First, it’s important to protect your time. There are only so many hours in the day. If you have a lot of accounts and deals in the pipeline that you could focus on, then make sure that you are prioritizing in the right way. Go after the ones that have the most need, and the highest, most compelling reason to want to close.
Really think through your pipeline so you’re not wasting time just throwing balls up in the air. That’s a sure path to failure, because then you’re not taking control of your territory. So that comes back to planning. Always go back to your territory and always be re-evaluating whether or not you’re spending your time in the best way possible.
Finally, just know your numbers, know your qualification criteria, and take a really hard look at what you actually have. Q4 is not the time for wishful thinking. This is not the time for hoping and wishing and praying that these deals are going to close.
Accept the bad news now if you’re not on track, or if you do not have enough pipeline. Get that insight now, so you can make adjustments and do work to set yourself up for success.
More tips for crushing your Q4 quota
This blog was our final segment following 4 earlier blogs relating to crushing your Q4 topics, listed below. To listen to the audio for each section, please click on the movie at the top of each post.
- Part 1 “Introduction to crushing your Q4 quota, plus What are the warning signs that you’re not ready for Q4?”
- Part 2 “What sale and marketing metrics are key to knowing you’re on track for Q4?”
- Part 3 “What are the pitfalls to avoid in attempting to crush your Q4 number?”
- Part 4 “How do you ensure a healthy pipeline so you’re closing the right deals?”