We’ve all been there: you spend a bunch of money on a business-to-business promotional campaign and your results are mediocre at best. Upon hearing this, marketing and sales pit against each other with laundry lists of blame. Don’t jump to unfounded conclusions about the individual parts and players. First, consider the following five questions about your marketing and sales system as a whole.

1. What is a lead? 
There is not one right way to answer this fundamental question. But your marketing and sales team does need to be in agreement on your company’s definition of a lead, how to qualify a lead, and roles and responsibilities for next steps. Here are some examples of lead definitions I’ve seen from clients:

  • A person who fits a profile and has the potential to need a certain product or service.
  • A person who fits a profile and has indicated interest in purchasing the exact product or service your company is selling.
  • A person who fits a profile, has the potential to need a certain product or service, and your company has interacted with in some way.

A lead can come to your company through multiple avenues. When everyone is on the same page, marketing and sales can work together to create the ideal opportunity to close a sale.

2. What activities were your marketing and sales teams engaged in? 
You have a campaign plan with tactics for mass outreach, but how are marketing and sales following up on that outreach to make real connections with people? When all parties are on board, you should be able to ask each individual what activities they are engaged in to take leads through the buying process: from establishing contact and creating awareness, to arousing interest, creating preference, making proposals, closing the order and keeping customers sold.

Marketing and sales each play their own part in every step of this process. Make sure you are seeing enough activity from your entire team that you have reason to believe you can drive enough results over time.

3. How were activities tracked? 
These days it is hard to win the argument against technology. Whether you have a simple shared Excel file or a sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) system, leads need to be available to the team in a central place, and outreach to those leads needs to be tracked. Not only does this help with time management and post-campaign analysis, but it prevents team members from over qualifying leads, duplicating efforts, and, most importantly, forgetting previous conversations with prospects. Good leads should be nurtured all of the time.

4. Were individuals held accountable for goals? 
A person can tell you all of the plans they have made, activities they have engaged in, but at the end of the day, did they achieve their goals? Why or why not? When people are held accountable, not only will they work harder but they also continuously improve, work out kinks, and have more potential to become top performers.

5. How did you personally motivate your team?
You can put all of the pieces in place, but you can’t wait for the process to work. Every strong team is guided by an even stronger, visionary leader who understands how to help each individual perform at their best. Marketing might do the heavy lifting preparing for a campaign launch, putting in long hours while juggling deadlines. When it’s time to hit the pavement, sales professionals can get caught up in the competition against each other. Leaders need to be fair, set reasonable expectations, and spread out tangible rewards for those doing a good job.

The key to a successful campaign isn’t in your attention-grabbing design or hard-to-pass deals. It is in creating a well-oiled marketing and sales machine that operates on accountability, a defined sales process, and motivated people that drive results. To control your destiny, organic growth needs to become organic systematic growth.