How Marketing Can Get Sales Onboard – Build a Bulletproof Business Case

Talk to any marketing person about their relationship with their internal sales counterparts and you will hear a similar complaint: marketing teams often feel misunderstood, underestimated, and disrespected by sales teams – and often by the organization-at-large. The situation can be a Catch-22: if the company experiences a big win, the sales team gets all of the credit. If the company is having a slow quarter, all eyes turn toward the marketing department for answers.

Beyond the emotional level, marketers hold a very practical concern about how their internal role in the organization: it can be like pulling teeth to get the sales and upper management teams on board with proposed new marketing and advertising campaigns.

Fortunately, there is a better way: ground everything in numbers. That’s right, marketing professionals: data can be your best friend. With the right data at your fingertips, you can prime the pump for success, garner internal buy-in, get more initiatives approved, and drive more revenue to your firm. The result: smiles all around as the revenue starts rolling in. And, as a bonus, you will get the credit you deserve because you set forth everything ahead of time, in the form of a numbers-based argument. Everybody wins.

Here are 5 ways to use data to build a bulletproof business case for your marketing proposal:

1. Set up metrics and track results:

Metrics is simply the art and science of measuring things. When it comes to achieving business objectives, developing and applying metrics is essential. The good news is that you can measure just about anything, even things that do not initially seem quantifiable, such as whether a person likes your website or whether they find your products easy to use.

To put metrics in place, start by determining what your business objectives are. Then, figure out which tasks or results have to happen in order to achieves those objectives. Finally, figure out how those tasks and results can be measured. Turn everything into numbers, and decide which number represents the threshold between success and failure for each metric.

With metrics in hand, you can show others in your organization how you will be measuring success in your upcoming campaign. Who can say no to that?

2. Speak in terms of ROI:

Your proposals should couch everything in terms of return on investment, which is a function of the cost of a campaign and the projected revenue it will generate. Just mentioning ROI will set you apart from the typical marketer in the eyes of the key members of your organization. Be sure to make your assumptions clear as to exactly how you will achieve your projected revenue goal.

3. Leverage data to find out who your best prospects are: that is, those who are most likely to convert:

When putting together a campaign, most marketers do a great job of choosing a marketing channel and devising a message. However, they often neglect to do their homework sufficiently in terms of whom they are targeting. Take the time to build a numbers-based segmentation model of your best historical customers. Then, use that model to target prospects just like them. Show your team how your best prospects are 3-5 times more likely to respond to your marketing outreach.

4. Detect patterns that lead to more cross-sell and up-sell opportunities with existing customers:

Analyze your existing order data and find patterns showing which types of customers tend to be ripe targets for the cross-selling, bundling or up-selling of other products and services. Even simple data mining exercises can bear fruit. But, combined with best customer segmentation modeling (see #3 above), your data-driven business case will pack a one-two punch.

5. Track your competition and find out how to beat them:

Analyze your competitors’ websites, sales collateral, social media campaigns, and any other public-facing aspects of their presence to gain insights into where they are doing well and where their weaknesses lie. Then, put together a numbers-based plan for besting your competitors in those areas.

To be successful, today’s marketing professionals know they have to go beyond coming up with clever jingles, taglines, and logos or sending out frequent Tweets and LinkedIn posts. Rather, they have to become more numbers-savvy. Making data your friend is the first step toward winning more internal approvals and to squeezing more return on investment out of your campaigns.