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  • Writer's pictureMike Ponzillo

Is your company sales enabled?

Updated: Jun 23, 2019

Is your team integrated across sales, marketing, product and service, or are they siloed into their functions? Think about the experience that you are providing. Is your customer experience challenged because your team is disconnected; working with fractured platforms and incomplete data? If so, it may be time to evolve into a sales enabled enterprise.

What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement is the process, content and technology that empowers a sales team to sell more efficiently and at a higher velocity. Sales enablement takes place when your teams are aligned; marketing, sales, service and product working to solve problems together for the customer.

That sounds great and most leaders I meet with agree that enabling and aligning across the organization is ideal, but many times are frustrated due to the complexities of making this happen. Transforming into a sales enabled company is not an event, it is an ongoing process. You can begin this process by fostering alignment between your marketing and your sales teams. Here are a few ideas to begin with that come from the team at HubSpot:

Define the difference between a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a sales qualified lead (SQL) for your organization.

The answer to this is not one-size-fits-all. You and your team need to debate these questions and move forward with consensus.

  • What is a sales ready lead?

  • Are the leads your marketing team creates for your sales team potential "good fit" customers that align with your ideal customer profile?

  • What do we do with a lead that is not ready for sales?

Define and departmentally align the different lifecycle stages for contacts.

The most generic terms we could use are "contact" or "lead" when tailoring our engagement with prospective customers. These terms may be valid, but they do not indicate which stage of the buyer's journey that someone is currently in.

Here are some basic definitions to get you started on defining and aligning lifecycle stages:

  • Prospect - website visitors that you have gathered minimal data on or who have registered for a blog or email newsletter.

  • Lead - a contact that has provided information to your company by completing a form or initiating a chat on your website.

  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) - a contact who has "raised their hand" and indicated they are more deeply engaged and ready to move forward.

  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) - an MQL that your sales team has determined to be a good fit for follow-up.

  • Opportunity - a SQL that a salesperson has communicated with an identified as a legitimate potential customer.

  • Customer - 🤩

Create a measured (KPI driven; i.e. accountable) service level agreement between your marketing and your sales teams.

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a two agreement. Marketing commits to delivering a certain number of leads to sales, and sales commits to contacting those leads within a certain timeframe.

Here are core components to formulate your SLA:

  • Average conversion rate from lead to opportunity

  • Average conversion rate from opportunity to closed sale

  • Average value of a sale

Here are example equations to help your formulate your SLA:

  1. Revenue Goal / Average Value of Sale = # of Customers Needed

  2. # of Customers Needed / Opportunity-to-Close Sales % = # of Opportunities Needed

  3. # of Opportunities Needed / Lead-to-Opportunity % = # of Leads Needed

Here is an SLA example between a marketing and sales team, "Every month, marketing will deliver 400 qualified leads to sales, and sales will contact each of those leads within 24 hours of receiving it."

Implement solid closed-loop reporting between your marketing and sales teams.

This is a critical stage to complete the feedback loop between marketing and sales.

Questions you will need to answer prior to creating these reports:

  • Does marketing currently receive feedback on their leads?

  • How are duplicate leads currently being managed?

  • Do the leads provided to sales include intelligence on the content consumed?

  • How are you currently measuring the impact of marketing efforts on revenue?

Benefits of closed-loop reporting:


  • Up-to-date contact info and status updates

  • Intelligence on effectiveness of marketing programs

  • Increased marketing ROI


  • De-duplicated contacts

  • Contact prioritization

  • More educated contacts (on your company, product or service)

  • Increased close rate and sales ROI

Closed-loop reporting allows you to:

  1. Analyze which marketing sources are producing the most customers

  2. Use conversion assists to help you understand how each individual piece of content you create contributes to closing customers.

  3. Provide a timeline of all interactions a contact took prior to becoming an MQL or customer.

  4. Pass information to sales that can help them in connecting and engaging with contacts within the first 24 hours.

  5. Send automatic updates to your sales team when their leads revisit the website or take other key actions, to ensure follow-up takes place at the best time.

Once this reporting is in place you will be able to implement marketing dashboards that keep core KPI's top of mind:

  • Service-level agreement

  • Volume of visits, leads, and customers

  • Leads by source

  • Marketing campaigns

  • Volume of marketing qualified leads generated

This process will work more efficiently if your marketing and sales teams both utilize the same CRM or CDP. Having a 360° view of your customers' interaction across the organization multiplies efficiency; providing an accurate record of how and with whom the customer is engaging. The process of updating customer data consistently also reduces friction as a lead moves from marketing to sales or from one salesperson to another.

Creating alignment between marketing and sales is a critical first step in developing your company into a sales enabled organization. If you have questions please contact me.

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