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This article explores why sales and marketing teams need to be aligned and how a prospect fit matrix ensures that you’re attracting the best-fit customers
Prospecting and qualifying leads is an endless battle for sales and marketing. Successful sales and marketing alignment is no easy task. Creating a strong prospect fit matrix may be the solution. We explore why sales and marketing teams need to be aligned and how a prospect fit matrix can benefit sales, marketing, and your business as a whole.
Not every company or prospect is a good fit for your product or service offerings. So, how do you ensure that you’re attracting the best-fit customers? The answer: A Prospect Fit Matrix. This article will delve deeper into what an ideal prospect fit matrix looks like, and how sales and marketing teams can use it to grow your business.
What is a prospect fit matrix?
A prospect fit matrix is essentially a checklist of attributes that companies or individuals should possess in order for you to work with them. For instance, specific industry type, minimum revenue or company size/number of employees and so on.
Interest and fit are both important factors to consider when prospecting. Inbound prospecting fit uses the simple Inbound Prospecting Matrix to determine if a prospect is:
- A good fit for your company
- Engaged with your content / actively in a buying cycle
For example, Company XYZ wants to purchase Spitfire Inbound’s services. However, Company XYZ is a start-up business with only 50 employees and has a marketing budget of R5000 per month.
Company XYZ will not be a good fit for Spitfire Inbound as our prospect fit matrix consists of established businesses, with over 100 employees who have bigger marketing budgets. Basically, those are the characteristics a company should have in order to benefit from Spitfire’s services.
Developing a prospect fit matrix saves your organisation time and money by allowing your marketing and sales teams to prioritise leads effectively. Based on their position on the matrix, leads should either be nurtured or removed from your pipeline.
It’s fairly simple to build your own matrix, but remember that it's critical to customise the criteria to your business environment. Once you know who you're looking for, developing, refining, and referencing your prospect fit matrix becomes second nature. You can learn how to get started with Inbound Prospecting Matrix from HubSpot through these steps.
Benefits of a Prospect Fit Matrix
Regardless of your industry or whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, you can create a prospect fit matrix that will provide many benefits such as:
- Reducing the time wasted on low-quality prospects.
- Reducing the cost of pursuing poorly suited prospects.
- Shortening the sales cycle by targeting customers who are more likely to buy from you.
- Dismantling silos in your business. When marketing and sales are aligned, marketing can support the sales process with helpful content (like case studies, email templates and blogs) so sales can tailor their engagement with prospects.
- Ensuring that sales take a consultative approach in order to earn trust and build rapport.
Why do Sales and Marketing Teams need a prospect fit matrix?
Historically, sales and marketing teams worked in silos and developed their strategies independently. In today’s inbound world, alignment between the two is the holy grail of business growth.
Sales and marketing teams need to define the common ground where they can work together seamlessly. Ultimately, it all comes down to trust: marketing teams need to generate quality leads and sales teams need to trust (and follow up with) the leads coming in from marketing.
A prospect fit matrix is a great way to get everyone on one page.
A robust “smarketing” strategy helps sales teams sell more, and helps marketing teams channel their budget into activities that deliver the best ROI for the business.
What can Sales do for Marketing?
When your sales (and customer service) team collaborates with Marketing, they should share the following:
- Objections and frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Real-life solutions to prospects’ pain points (case studies and testimonials)
- Market dynamics
- Customer health
- Process efficiency
- Checking for validity of marketing content (thought leadership and industry/product expertise)
This information makes Marketing aware of buyers' real pain points, goals and needs which in turn leads to more effective marketing campaigns and a better customer experience.
What can Marketing do for Sales?
Marketing focuses on helping buyers progress through the early stages of the buyer's journey. This means that by the time they do speak to a salesperson, there is already a relationship built on trust.
This means that to support sales, marketing must:
- Educate buyers
- Nurture and qualify leads
- Provide competitive data
- Consistently engage customers
Your prospects should ideally only reach the sales team once they are well informed, engaged and have shown an interest in doing business with you.
Sales and marketing alignment is also important for reporting purposes. It gives the business a holistic view of the ROI of your sales and marketing spend
Addressing The Challenges of Aligning Sales and Marketing
Aligning sales and marketing is a long-term business strategy. You can’t afford to ignore the misalignment. We’ve outlined how to address some of the challenges when it comes to aligning your sales and marketing teams.
1. Sharing Goals
The first step to tackling sales and marketing misalignment is recognising that you’re working towards the same goal. Whether these goals are company initiatives (such as doubling revenue) or specific (such as launching a new product), it’s important to agree upon business outcomes.
One of the key contributors to misaligned sales and marketing teams is poor communication. Honest, transparent, and robust communication is essential to creating alignment between sales and marketing.
3. Strategising together
It’s crucial for sales and marketing to stop working independently. Instead, they need to come together as one team and establish where the market stands, what buyers need most right now, and how your solution can address these inputs.
This can be accomplished by gathering everyone in the same physical or digital space and creating room for dynamic, honest discussions. Also, building your plan of action together ensures less confusion and guarantees that teams are working towards shared goals.
Ultimately, the prospect fit matrix forms part of the business strategy, and the business strategy informs the roles of marketing and sales. The future of business strategy would actually be to combine sales and marketing, essentially creating a “smarketing” department.
A final word…
One important thing to always keep in mind is that your business is a living entity. Your prospect fit matrix is always going to evolve as the market and your buyer personas mature. Updating your buyer personas, re-visiting your prospect fit matrix, and developing new matrixes and personas should be done at least once a year.
When it comes to bringing in customers and growing your bottom line, sales and marketing are critical functions in your company. But, neither can achieve everything in silos. A combined strategy, collaborative relationship, and integrated processes are crucial for both teams (and your company) to prosper.