Processes and Mechanics for Sales and Marketing Alignment - Thanksgiving Edition 🦃🍻

For some of us "Kudus," one of our favorite things to do given a special occasion including Thanksgiving once every few years, is treat ourselves to a delicious meal and fine dining experience at a great restaurant. A meal where one might ask the server to provide recommendations, a paired glass or bottle of wine, or even a fully curated meal with pairings throughout. There are often descriptions about the sourcing of local ingredients, the farms they came from, and maybe even the name and family history of the animal that provided the meat you might be about to enjoy. 

There are bountiful tools and processes you can use within your CRM to facilitate a similar experience for your sales organization when delivering them the finest MadKudu qualified leads and accounts. In this article we seek to entice you with a menu of best practices designed to whet the appetite of even the most discerning and sophisticated SDR palette. So, let us engage in a culinary exploration of operational good taste and work up an appetite along the way!

First Course (Fit Signals, Likelihood to Buy Signals, and MQL Reasons)

You of course have a score (and hopefully a good one from MadKudu), as the basic product being served to your sales guests. What entices a SDR, BDR, or AE? What will intrigue them, draw them in, and more importantly help them truly understand the reason why this lead’s vintage is more rare and special compared to others.

Fit Signals

These provide the terroir (firmographic), varietal (demographic), and specific tasting (technographic) notes of a given lead. Consider some of the following approaches to further enriching fit signals so that the sales organization’s interest is piqued.

  • A firmographic signal delineating the specific industry or revenue bracket a company belongs to. 
  • A demographic signal that looks at hiring trends for specific roles that might be a decision maker regarding the purchase of your product.
  • A technographic signal that shows a company may be leveraging competitor software within its stack.

Learn more about editing and prioritizing Fit Signals in MadKudu

Likelihood To Buy Signals

These indicators are more the “back story” of how the lead developed. Consider them akin to a winery tour, or seeing the vats at a trappist brewery. These signals allow a deeper understanding of how the final qualified lead, contact or account was built up and allowed to ripen. Highlights to deliver along the way might include:

  • An aggregation of all active users within your free trial over the last 30 days under a given account domain.
  • An indicator of the date at which more than five email click-throughs might have occurred within the last 60 days.
  • A callout of three or more content downloads over a 90 day period.

Each of these would be appropriately date stamped and packaged in a way to provide context around the journey that lead has been on before it arrives for presentation “en queue.”

MQL Reasons

MQL Reasons are like the rind of a shelf-ripened cheese or the white and green mold (a good thing) encasing a perfectly aged prosciutto di parma or serrano ham. These provide a key to determining the strata of quality within the offerings that even made it to the menu. Like a wine flight ordered from lightest to most complex, you would order your picklist to reflect the relative complexity and comparison between the reasons, and allow workflows to set those MQL reasons according to the components from which they’re made. A possible tasting could be:

  • Demo Requests - The first and lightest degree of direct handraiser. Qualified due to direct reach, but very straightforward.
  • Sales Contacts - Clean, crisp and directly qualified. A sure bet regardless of taste.
  • Point Based or Legacy MQL - An old standard with muddled elements of tobacco and tradeshow scanner popular since the late 1980s. 
  • MadKudu MQL - Powerful, complex, with uniquely identifiable notes of correlated ICP, meaningful engagement, and a smooth finish of statistical significance. 

The above libations should work backwards against each other in terms of overwhelming the palette, so be sure to keep track of them in terms of negative overlaps. If one falls into a deeper flavor profile as listed in the order above, mark it as such. Oh, but lest we forget a favorite holiday nog there is one more potentially fun but less refined element that should be included for familiarity.

  • Exceptions / Priority Campaign Members - A distilled offering of hubris and high-alcohol content because CMOs and Field Marketers like to party. Nobody is going to tell you not to do it, but you should keep track of how many you have.

Second Course (SLAs and Capacity Counters)

The second course is one of the hardest to ensure a strong but satisfying flavor for all diners as it involves the participation and commitment of all parties including marketing, sales and sometimes finance from a compensation perspective. Honestly, it reminds us of a raclette party.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Coming to agreements on SLAs between sales and marketing can feel scarier than correctly preparing blowfish sashimi, but according to those that have tasted success, it’s worth it! You don’t have to get overly complex about SLAs, but at least consider the following.

  • Pair SLAs According to Complexity - Take the MQL Reason list above and try mapping increasingly loose SLAs to the various categories.

  • Know Your Guests - Ensure that SLAs take into consideration the viewpoint and experience of the prospect and the general bandwidth of the sales team member to whom the lead is routed.
     
  • Mise en Place - Since sales professionals within the organization are expected to comply with SLAs, Marketing should also ensure that their prepared and delivered MQLs are produced in an orderly fashion and meet standards for velocity and conversion.

Consider the prospect and the general bandwidth of the sales team member to whom the lead is routed when setting SLAs.

Capacity Counter

Occasionally we’ll hear concerns about ensuring that qualified lead volumes don’t go too high because then capacity of the organization cannot keep up. To us, that basically sounds like an argument for less butter in a bisque or less ice cream for dessert. Instead, you should always have plenty of MQLs like giant candy canes and sociopaths at the Wonka factory. Don’t ever hold back from routing significantly engaged leads through to the sales organization. However, if you are concerned about enforcing SLAs against leads that have been produced over the capacity and ability of the sales organization to answer, try a few of these remedies when the pan gets too hot!

  • Incrementing leads with a counter at the point they MQL and are routed, resetting the counter at whatever interval (day / week / month / quarter) you choose.
  • Group all leads under the capacity threshold together with an additional formula. This effectively separates the leads that are over capacity as well.
  • Monitor SLA compliance across all leads, but only evaluate compliance based on the leads delivered under threshold and encourage as fast a response as possible for leads above threshold as well.
  • Share volumes over threshold with sales management so that additional staffing can be arranged for.

Sorry if we mixed metaphors a bit or broke from the theme above, but we’re already thinking about dessert and we have a serious sweet tooth - especially for BREAD pudding! 🤑🍞

Third (and Final?) Course (Timestamps, Campaign Cohorts, and The Feedback Loop)

For our final course, we have an entertaining assortment of ganaches, gastriques, crumbles, chocolates, cookies and candies arranged with a precision that would make Grant Achatz consider hanging up his Hedley & Bennett apron and trading it for a Trailblazer hoodie.

Timestamps

These tasty morsels are key to tracking motion and velocity through the funnel. They’re critical to your success and should minimally take into consideration the dates on which the following occurred.

  • MQL
  • SAL (Sales Accepted)
  • SQL (Converted to Opp)

Campaign Cohorts

The best investment in your stack that wouldn’t set your company back more than a client dinner at El Bulli in 2007, would be custom APEX code for stamping campaign names and membership status at the following critical junctures within the funnel.

  • First Campaign Response Date
  • Lead Creation Date
  • MQL Date
  • SAL (Sales Accepted) Date
  • SQL (Converted to Opp) Date
  • Most Recent Campaign Response (Lead and Contact)

The Feedback Loop

The Feedback Loop based on disqualification and rejection reasons should be considered a gratuity or service charge paid by SDRs, BDRs and AEs and their time put into providing that feedback should be reinvested in elevated quality of product and further refining the menu in the form of future MQLs more closely matched to ICP and marketing momentum. Below is how we advise our customers to maintain an actionable feedback loop.

Align marketing operations actions with specific feedback around signals.


The feast goes on! Be sure to come and take a knee or sit at the table, breaking bread with your sales organization on a regular basis. Understand why certain leads are or are not being worked by sales and maintain a regular reservation to review feedback while also being considerate of the calendar with engaging no more than once every couple of weeks.

Eat Hearty Friends!

We don’t always remember it or hear it from all corners of our organizations, but like the wide ranging smells and flavors described above and the experiences and etiquette that accompany them, Ops has a beautiful array of problems, challenges and rewarding solutions that can and should make us thankful, satiated but also leave us longing for that next bite.

We’re thankful for our experiences, work and colleagues as well as our customers (and audience) here at MadKudu. Whatever meal you enjoy, however you partake, and whomever you enjoy it with next Thursday we hope you enjoyed this reading and thank you for your interest and good taste! Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃🍻

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