Improve Lead Conversion by Aligning Marketing and Sales Efforts

New analysis demonstrates that greater marketing and sales alignment improves the selling process by increasing engagement and likelihood of response from leads

December 22, 2018

12 Days of Sales Content

Here at LinkedIn, we’re celebrating the holidays by bringing you 12 days of awesome sales content. Today, we share some new LinkedIn research that demonstrates the effectiveness of sales and marketing alignment, specifically by nurturing saved leads with targeted marketing campaigns. 

The 12th Day of Sales Content

Sales professionals spend a significant amount of time identifying the right people to reach out to at their accounts. Imagine a world in which a greater proportion of these leads were genuinely interested in your offering. You could boost performance by converting better targeted, sales-ready leads. 

One way to accomplish this is through sales and marketing alignment — with both departments working together to target, generate, and cultivate the leads you care most about. In a new study, LinkedIn analyzed the sales impact of saved leads (in LinkedIn Sales Navigator) who were nurtured, that is, engaged with content from a marketing campaign. Our data-driven analysis confirmed that this type of marketing and sales alignment drove key sales metrics — such as increased response rate and buyer engagement.

Increased Alignment Improves the Selling Process

We’ve heard the many benefits of marketing and sales alignment. Without alignment, sales and marketing target different audiences, and marketers are not able to effectively collaborate with sales to close deals. With alignment, however, marketing targets the right audience and generates the leads you care most about and support your active leads.  

Recently, LinkedIn ran a year-long pilot program with customers in which we integrated our Sales Navigator product and our Campaign Manager marketing product. Specifically, we took the active saved leads in Sales Navigator and we put them into our customer’s Campaign Manager program. This way, marketers could precisely target the lowest funnel, highest opportunity leads their sales team was working on. We found that key sales metrics were very positively impacted when saved leads were nurtured by marketing campaigns versus those that were not nurtured.  

Saved leads who had been nurtured and engaged with content from a marketing campaign had a 20% lift in LinkedIn InMail response rates from sales professionals than those who had not been nurtured. InMail messages are already one of the most credible (and successful) channels for sales professionals to directly contact prospects and customers. By aligning marketing and sales efforts, we found that you can significantly increase the likelihood that saved leads will respond to your outreach.

In addition, nurtured saved leads were significantly more likely to engage with sales professionals and your company’s brand on LinkedIn. In fact, nurtured saved leads visited company pages on LinkedIn nearly 3x more and increased inbound profile views nearly 2x more than saved leads who were not nurtured through marketing campaigns.  

Final Thoughts

The findings from this study demonstrate the importance of effective marketing and sales alignment, especially with regard to targeting, generating, and cultivating leads that sales professionals care most about.  By having your marketing team target leads, they can help nurture prospects with relevant campaigns and marketing collateral.  Ultimately, this means prospects are more likely to become customers.  

Source: LinkedIn Internal Data. Lift metrics defined as percentage increase from saved leads with marketing campaign impressions vs. saved leads without marketing campaign impressions.  

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