Numerous studies support the fact that companies, which excel at aligning their marketing and sales efforts, enjoy significantly higher revenue growth. A best-in-class strategy for creating such cohesion is the regular development of a business dashboard.
A dashboard is generally a one-page executive summary, often visual in nature, of the key metrics that drive your business. Data from a variety of sources is consolidated into a single, actionable report to allow all impacted stakeholders to quickly assess the state of the business and map out resulting next steps toward goal achievement.
There are various types of dashboards - from operational, to human resources, to customer service. The content of each is tailored for a particular point of view. With a customer-service dashboard, for example, key drivers might include call volume, length of call, number of calls escalated, customer satisfaction scores and ultimately, repeat purchases.
Given that the goal of your sales and marketing effort is to drive incremental sales and profit, a growth dashboard -- that focuses on the key drivers and indicators of growth within your business -- is ideal for your sales and marketing team.
In determining the real success drivers for your outside sales team, consider: the number of referrals generated, the number of calls/meetings held with high-value targets, the length of the sales cycle, your team's close ratio, the cost of your team's time in closing sales, and the value of opportunities in the pipeline, all compared to comparable time periods as well as your targets.
From a marketing perspective, consider: the number of qualified inbound leads generated, the cost of acquisition for those inbound leads, improvements in market awareness of your brand, moving the needle on your online reputation, improvement in web conversion rates, increases in online order size, and conversion from email subscriber to customer, as compared to previous quarter results and your goals.
All of that aside, the key to a successful dashboard effort has far less to do with how well the dashboard is built, and more to do with how regularly you share the data with your team, collectively assess its meaning, and calibrate your strategy accordingly.
Be sure to combine both sales and marketing drivers in the same dashboard, as both teams should ideally be working collectively toward the same targets. Conduct your review meetings with both teams in the same room to avoid finger pointing. For example, the sales team might convey that they would be more successful if the marketing team provided better leads.
To create a sustainable growth culture, one where you know that a defined level and type of activity will allow your company to realize its growth goals year after year, your sales and marketing teams must work in tandem, support one another, and be rewarded for teamwork that drives results.
Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.