kieranLast week I interviewed Kieran Flanagan. Kieran will be visiting The Netherlands in March to speak at our B2B Marketing Forum. US-based company Hubspot has been very successful in creating a love story between marketing and sales and has faced revenues growth of more than 82% annually over the past years.

Kieran: “The best way to move the walls between sales and marketing is to create a process and metrics that align sales and marketing around the same goals. Best-in-class companies do not measure marketing based on the amount of leads they generate, nor do they measure sales based on the amount of leads converted. Instead best-in-class companies measure success based on how sales and marketing work together to achieve the goals of the company, in most cases its revenue.”

Hubspot generates approximately 60,000 leads each month, and in order to align marketing and sales Kieran talks about the learnings for B2B marketers:

1. Buyer Personas  – To begin with Hubspot created a series of buyer personas and a variety of content for each persona. Kieran: “Sometimes it seems that we create a lot of content, but what we really are trying to do is to create a variety content for the different personas we are targeting”. In the creation of these personas, sales and marketing worked together to determine who is that ideal customers, and how they go through the buying journey.

2. Align sales and marketing around the same goal: Revenue Generation – All Hubspot marketers are accountable for part of the revenue. Kieran: “In this process of alignment, we determined 5 lead types and each lead type is associated with a value (in USD).” When Kieran explains lead types, he means e.g. a lead that asks for a demo is different to a lead in the awareness phase and downloads a piece of our content.

So every month, marketing is measured by how many leads they generated for each defined type and how many of these leads have been converted to business. Kieran: “So it’s not about how many leads we generate, but about the right type of leads which will generate revenues for our company”.

Kieran: “We know for example the closing rates of leads that ask for a demo of our products. Based on this we know exactly how many leads of these type we need to generate for our sales team each month so they can hit their target.”

3. Marketing & Sales Synergy –  “Working closely together is great for both sides; it creates more interest and involvement between sales and marketing and in the end more focus to achieve the end goal,” says Kieran.

Sales is now more interested in how the traffic and the tactics – created by marketing – will help them to generate enough and the right leads, and marketing is trying to help the sales team to get better close rates. The better their close rates, the more the dollar-value of the leads will go up.

4. Marketing becomes indispensable – The result of this way of working is that marketing has a very important seat at the revenue table together with the CEO, CFO and CCO (Chief Commercial Officer).  Kieran: “Most B2B companies’ marketers are not involved at this level since they usually show fluffy metrics, such as brand awareness, general traffic, etc. Whereas if you want to have a meaningful conversation with the Board, you need meaningful metrics related to marketing revenue-contribution.”

Kieran Flanagan will speak at the B2B Marketing Forum on March 13th, where he will share Hubspot-Linkedin survey results regarding the state of marketing and sales alignment in EMEA B2B organizations. In addition, Kieran will share some practical examples of how marketing can strengthen its relationship with sales.