Tough Talks Made Easy: Sales and MOPs: How Your CMO Can Bridge the Gaps

Tough Talks Made Easy: Sales and MOPs: How Your CMO Can Bridge the Gaps

Written by Trent Cross

 

The dynamics between Sales and Marketing attract a lot of attention. Businesses rightfully stake importance on solving historical tensions between the two halves of their revenue machine, but discourse often overlooks one of the most decisive elements of how well Sales and Marketing work together.

Marketing Operations isn’t often perceived as an authoritative force in the Sales-Marketing relationship; MOPs is typically a few extra degrees of separation away, but the team’s deliverables have a vital impact on Sales’ ability to pursue leads and close deals. As such, Sales’ needs can exert considerable influence over MOPs’ workload and priorities. 

That means it’s in the best interest of both Sales and MOPs to understand clearly what each team needs from the other to work together effectively. If you don’t frequently interact with Sales in your role, it’s especially important that your Marketing leaders grasp how Sales and MOPs impact one another and can encourage Sales to understand the practicalities of how MOPs works to support them. This Tough Talks Made Easy will give you the guidance you need to sit down with your boss and have that conversation.

Bridging the gaps

In many organizations, MOPs is perceived as part and parcel of the Marketing team. As a result, Sales might not wholly understand how MOPs as a function differs to more generalist Marketing roles with its focus on tools, platforms, and systems, or the extent to which their demands cascade onto your workload.

Essentially, MOPs glues Sales and Marketing together. Sales expects to receive correctly qualified leads from Marketing in a timely manner, so they can strike while the iron’s hot and close deals. Behind the scenes, MOPs creates all of the technical infrastructure to make that possible, setting up campaign programs, alerts to Sales, data delivery systems, and capturing all the relevant information about how a lead has previously engaged with the business.

To execute this effectively, with fewer miscommunications around deliverables and expectations, Marketing leadership should bring MOPs into any conversations with Sales about lead qualification criteria and process adjustments. Sales will want any changes in direction to be implemented as soon as possible; at this stage, whoever represents MOPs in that conversation needs to provide a healthy dose of realism. 

Setting realistic expectations

Sometimes, Sales sets the bar for lead qualification no lower than bluebird opportunities which take minimal effort to close. And despite the urgency on Sales’ end for quick adjustments, MOPs will often need to balance their requests with tasks like platform operations, executing campaigns, and reporting.

Real alignment between Sales and Marketing occurs when both teams discuss the realities of their work and agree on outcomes that are actually possible. Depending on the size of your organization and the practicalities of how teams come together to make decisions, encourage leadership to share MOPs’ processes, deliverables, and updates, or invite someone from MOPs to partake in these discussions. 

Sales should understand what MOPs can and can’t do, and the practicalities and trade-offs of fulfilling requests. What time and resources does MOPs need to set up auto-notifications for MQL delivery? If it’s a priority to complete this request, what other projects need to sit on the backburner? By having a transparent dialogue around priorities and bandwidth, MOPs and Sales can devise a plan of action with clear and realistic deliverables: X number of leads delivered in Y time frame, based on Z qualification status.

Maintenance time

“No news is good news” is a common state of affairs in MOPs. It tends to go unacknowledged when all your processes and data flows are running smoothly, but all hell breaks loose when something goes awry. If qualified leads aren’t reaching Sales on time, campaigns aren’t visible or don’t have the correct people attached, the lead’s engagement data is incomplete or inaccurate, or leads are being sent without meeting the agreed qualification criteria, MOPs is left scrambling to make fixes on top of all other tasks.

There are a few points of discussion you can bring to your boss to help ensure everything is in good order for Sales. The reality of looking after processes like lead scoring models and lifecycles is such that, after monitoring them heavily for the initial weeks and months with no signs of trouble, it seems safe to leave them alone and turn your attention to other responsibilities.

Ideally, though, you’re able to reevaluate and test processes on a regular basis to proactively detect and prevent errors. To keep on top of this, leadership should prioritize hours for maintenance in your schedule if you’re short on the time to look after elements of the system that impact Sales—lead lifecycles and scoring, campaign and lead data. For each campaign, suggest a dedicated sync with Marketing to clarify the finer points—target audience, how to access and update it, how to add the correct prospects—so all the information’s in the right place.

 

Connecting the dots

There might not be a direct line between Sales and MOPs in your workplace, but the work of both teams has a profound impact on the other. Making space to communicate what MOPs can realistically deliver, and carving out the time to perfect the processes that power Sales’ success, are two key initiatives you can advocate for to support Sales effectively and contribute to the achievement of revenue and productivity.

For additional guidance on bringing teams together, Revenue Pulse is here to help.