Lead Scoring: What Marketing & Sales Need to Know

TLDR: Lead scoring can help Sales focus only on the most valuable or receptive prospects, but the project stands or falls based on the quality of Sales-Marketing collaboration.

What is lead scoring? Lead scoring is the process of evaluating the interest of a prospect and their readiness to engage with the sales process.

The problem lead scoring solves: Lead scoring helps Sales and Marketing concentrate efforts on leads that have demonstrated a higher level of interest or engagement with your brand, increasing the chances of closing deals and generating revenue.

What’s in it for you? In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll cover how to explain the value and reality of lead scoring to Sales – what it is and is not, what it offers and requires. You can incentivize Sales to work together with Marketing with realistic expectations on a project that’s vital for both teams to grow the business.


Methods and data points

Companies can score leads in a variety of ways. You can ascribe numeric values, letter rankings, or descriptive terms like “warm” and “cold.” However you choose to score leads, there are several key data points that should factor into the analysis:

👉 Demographics (relevant individual characteristics, e.g. job title)
👉 Firmographics (organization profile, e.g. industry, vertical, size, location, annual revenue)
👉 Behavior (how the lead engages with your brand, e.g. visiting the webpage, interacting on social, requesting a demo)
👉 BANT qualification (the lead’s budget, authority, need, and timeline)
👉 Completeness of the data you have for each lead

There’s no objectively superior method of scoring leads and accrediting weight to different data types. Instead, your Sales team needs to work with Marketing to define the scoring methodology and establish what a “qualified” lead looks like.

An accurate view of lead quality helps Sales to focus on engaging only with the most receptive and valuable prospects. Neither team can make a complete assessment of this without ideas, data, and feedback from the other.


Qualify or nurture

Naturally, some leads will show a higher likelihood to buy than others. The task for Marketing and Sales is to determine how to identify and treat leads that fall into one of two groups:

1️ shows an optimal level of interest for Sales to act, or
2️ requires further nurturing by Marketing.

For this process to yield results, Sales needs to agree with Marketing on the benchmark for qualification.

Sales might expect the leads they receive from Marketing to be ready to sign, but there’s only so much your Marketing team can do in advance. As long as Marketing can unearth opportunities with a high likelihood of closure, it’s on Sales to identify where in the process to step in and how to approach each lead.

On the other hand, Sales shouldn’t encourage Marketing to pass leads over who show just enough of a pulse to open an email or click a link. Qualifying leads this way undermines the evaluative power of Marketing’s nurture process. Sales might get a couple of lucky bites, but it won’t translate to sustainable success.


Building lead profiles

Marketing’s nurture programs build insightful lead profiles through rich data collection, which allows Sales to approach the highest quality leads in the most engaging ways, showing awareness of their interests and the situational context. Without that basis, Sales risks burning effort on premature leads and failing to hit targets.

The point to make is that lead scoring best allows Sales to identify and win business from the highest value leads when two things are in place:

✅ clearly defined and realistic models for scoring and qualification, and
✅ time for Marketing to nurture developed engagement data from their campaigns.


Fuel your growth machine

To get started with lead scoring, Sales needs a good grasp of their past successes. Your reps should dig into historical data about past deals and lead journeys until they can answer these key questions:

👉 What makes a person qualified enough?
👉 What behaviors and traits did closed-won leads show?


The quality of collaboration

From there, lead scoring stands or falls based on the quality of your collaboration. Sales and Marketing should participate in healthy, ongoing discussions until you agree on a scoring methodology and handover process that both teams can comfortably deliver.

With that agreement in place, you stand the highest chance of seeing the benefits of lead scoring—the ability for Sales to prioritize quality leads, better insight for Marketing into the most valuable lead characteristics, and increased alignment and revenue that both halves of your growth machine can enjoy.

Want more guidance on lead scoring? Revenue Pulse is here to help.

How Can Our Teams Create a Better Customer Journey?

Hi Joe,

The sales team at my company is struggling to close, and it’s become clear that the leads they’re receiving aren’t correctly qualified.

Upon taking a closer look, it seems there is a significant lack of alignment between Marketing and MOPs, especially when it comes to managing leads as they progress through our funnel.

Any advice on how our teams can get back on the same page – and help our Sales team close more deals?


Alignment Anna

pink seperator line

Hi Anna, thanks for writing in.

This is a challenging issue.

The unfortunate news is that it’s a common issue.

The good news is that it’s one that can definitely be remedied with a few tactical moves.


“Good communication is
critical to this solution.”


I should start by saying: good communication is critical to this solution. Without regular discourse and updates from all sides, alignment between teams is nearly impossible.

With that out of the way, I do have some more practical tips that will improve collaboration between MOPs and Marketing, ensuring they are fully calibrated when it comes to managing your buyer’s journey.


1. Plan and document lead progression metrics.

Leads are constantly coming into your database from several different ingestion points, such as

👉 landing pages
👉 paid advertisements
👉 events, and more.

As these leads are collected and segmented, it’s important to put relevant metrics in place that clearly demonstrate the requirements that must be met in order to progress a lead through your system.

For example, these metrics should specifically indicate when a site visitor is converted into a lead, then a marketing-qualified lead (MQL), sales-qualified lead (SQL), sales accepted lead (SAL), and so on, until they eventually become a customer.

Once your teams understand – and agree on – what these metrics are, I encourage you to create a well-defined, metrics-based map of the buyer’s journey that everyone can refer back to.


Well-defined buyer’s journey
sustained alignment.


Having accessible, detailed documentation like this is a reliable way to sustain alignment and eliminate future confusion. It ensures that your MOPs, Marketing, Sales, and even Demand Gen teams know the exact metrics and qualifications that push leads through funnel thresholds – leading to efficient collaboration and more effective campaigns.

Constantly testing these metrics for accuracy is important, too, as it ensures the desires of your Marketing team are aligned with how your audience is interacting with your content.


2. Clearly define buyer personas.

It is also important that everyone is on the same page about the categorization of leads as they relate to the type of buyers you want to target. For example, is your company looking to target C-level executives, lower-level managers, or something in between?

The answer to this question must be consistent for every team. Clear buyer personas allow Marketing to create more relevant content, nurture campaigns, and personalized messages that should be delivered at the right time in the buyer’s journey.

And while MOPs doesn’t create the actual content, the team is responsible for managing your lead database. This responsibility includes scoring and qualifying leads based on relevant metrics and characteristics that should be informed by those your buyer personas.

Some examples of these metrics include the number of:

➡️ CTAs a lead has clicked within marketing emails over the past several months.
➡️ service- or product-specific webpages visited.
➡️ interactions they’ve had with sales personnel.


3. Leverage tracking for timely content

Once your company’s buyer personas and lead progression metrics are well understood by all teams, the next step is to implement solid processes that track leads throughout the buyer’s journey.

Where is the lead in your sales funnel? Are they at the top of the funnel at the awareness level, in the middle of the funnel past problem identification, or near the end of the funnel and ready to purchase?

These are questions that your MOPs team can answer through the use of good tracking and filtering in your MAP.

This will allow personalized content send-outs, such as nurture campaigns, to be meticulously timed, reaching leads at critical points in their journey.


Bringing it all together

Your MOPs and Marketing teams can work together to create the best buyer’s journey possible by:

1️ Documenting proper lead progression metrics for all teams to see.
2️ Clearly defining buyer personas that inform these metrics and steer content creation.
3️ Implementing good tracking processes to enable timely content send-outs.

Ultimately, following these steps will improve your organization’s conversion rates and reduce headaches for your Sales team.

For more advice on aligning sales and marketing, download ‘The Roadmap to B2B Marketing Success.’

You’ve got this,


How Can I Get Sales & Marketing in Sync?

Hi Jo,

My sales and marketing teams aren’t working well together.

People from both teams aren’t really talking to each other or sharing information that could help them both to succeed.

As a result, we work in an environment where:

❌ processes are slow
❌ communication is tense, and
❌ Marketing and Sales don’t understand one another.

How can I make my teams collaborate like partners? How can we bridge the gaps between us?

Out of Sync Sally.

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Sally, it’s good that you’re asking how to fix things.

When disconnect is the norm, it’s impossible for teams to work effectively together.

In a past workplace, my Marketing team would publish whitepapers and run events as a separate machine from Sales. Likewise, Sales turned down the majority of our leads without giving any feedback.

You’d have no idea we shared the same goal: Drive revenue for the business.

We were completely misaligned, and worse still, nobody felt they could speak up. That was ‘the way things were done,’ with little hope for dialogue or change.

Three key elements were missing:

✅ Strong purpose.
✅ Shared understanding.
✅ Active listening.

Now that I’ve moved on to manage teams, I realize just how essential these components are to bring people in the workplace together.

Here are some tips for creating an environment where teamwork actually makes the dream work:

1. Have someone representing each team attend the other team’s meetings and presentations.

Having a representative to share feedback and updates, to show interest in helping and understanding each other — will help both teams to work more considerately.

2. Encourage transparency around data, goals, and knowledge.

If Sales shares where they need help fulfilling quotas, Marketing can help them size up the impact of campaigns. Which Marketing webinars are valuable to particular prospects? Who can Sales pursue based on event attendance? How can Sales and Marketing line their activities up?

3. Invite teams to share their updates on a monthly basis.

Common dashboards that visualize key performance metrics, project presentations from people in various different roles—these initiatives help everyone to demonstrate how their work connects to the bottom line.

4. Consolidate your teams on one project management tool

This will get your teams on the same page. It’s a visual tool to show how each person’s activities contribute towards a shared outcome.

5. Create open channels for people to share their successes or ask for help.

The mindset you want to promote is: “How can we celebrate or solve this together?”

6. Ask people what they see their purpose as, and accept honest answers.

If someone doesn’t know their purpose in the company, encourage them to think about the bigger picture and show them the true impact of their contribution. Whether it’s press coverage from Marcomms or products from Merchandising, quality work in every role plays a part in the company’s growth.

7. Get people moving around and talking to each other.

Hotdesking, catch-up calls, open invites to knowledge-sharing and brainstorming sessions; all of these help sociability and belonging as a team.

Ultimately, people want colleagues and leaders they can trust. Make clear that Marketing and Sales are on the same side, and that you’re here to help and encourage them to perform at their best.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse.

P.S. If you’re looking for a take on sales and marketing alignment through the scope of data analysis, read this Tough Talks Made Easy.

Explain the Value of Marketo to Your CEO (In Language They Understand)

TLDR: Marketo helps you save time, increase efficiency, and grow revenue. Communicate these outcomes and the value of your CEO’s investment in Marketo (and your team) will be undeniable.

You’re great at your job. 🔥

Why? Because you work hard to demonstrate the value that marketing operations brings to your organization.

The problem: Now you’re on the hook to explain the value of Marketo to your CEO.

What do you do next? Read this Tough Talks Made Easy. We’re going to arm you with everything you need to maximize your minutes with the C-suite. Ditch the buzzwords and focus your approach on the language C-Suite speaks on a daily basis: outcomes.


Focus on outcomes

Your CEO needs to worry about the bottom line without being bogged down by minutiae.

When we talk about speaking in outcomes, we don’t mean:

❌ increased clicks
❌ better open rates, or
❌ the things that only excite marketers. (Sorry).

Your CEO is interested in outcomes with positive impacts on pipeline.

✅ improved lead conversion by stage
✅ the ability to enable your existing sales force and help them achieve quota, and
✅ any other outcomes that lead directly to increased revenue.

The value of Marketo speaks for itself. But, it’s up to you to communicate its many uses into outcome-focused conclusions.


Outcome 1: The value of marketing automation

Marketing automation lets you streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks to save time, increase efficiency, and grow revenue more quickly. (Pretty good outcomes!)

Marketing automation takes every aspect of your existing campaign management and marketing programs and allows you to run them ‘lights out.’ With automation, you’ll get real-time data on what’s working and what isn’t, and a comprehensive scoring system to strategize new leads as you get them.

Your CEO needs to know what Marketo can do. Marketo is to marketing what Salesforce is to sales.

Here are a few features of Marketo

👉 boosts pipeline while providing insight into the customer journey
👉 allows for more targeted, relevant communication as relationships progress, and
👉 delivers insights to drive account and prospect intelligence to sales.


Outcome 2: Enhances doesn’t replace talent

Marketing automation isn’t about making humans obsolete. It’s about giving your talent the data and feedback they need in real-time to flex their marketing muscles in the right direction and do what they do best.

Marketo isn’t some set-it-and-forget-it approach—far from it.


“Marketing automation is
only as effective
as those who implement it.”


Marketing automation is only as effective as the marketers who implement it. Campaigns are at their best when the creativity of your talent is able to thrive.

Marketo provides digital experiences that weren’t possible before, but to be successful marketing ops need the right support, funding, and data to make it all work.


Outcome 3: Actionable data

Marketo isn’t about creating a deluge of information—it’s about telling you precisely which strategies are working and which aren’t, so you can react accordingly.

The insights delivered by Marketo are focused on efficiency, scalability, and ROI.


“Marketo tells you

which strategies work and

which do not.”


Without marketing automation, you simply aren’t measuring these things effectively—if you’re measuring them at all.

With Marketo, everything is tracked and displayed. It provides a comprehensive analysis that allows you to compare every facet against others—and keep constant track of how much everything costs.


Outcome 4: Enhanced relationships

Marketing automation has been exploding for a reason. Companies like Fujitsu and the Portland Trail Blazers have made big investments in Marketo and the teams that run them.

Buyers have the ability to google every option, consider every purchase, and compare every choice in spending.

In order to make a sale, relationships need to be fostered, nurtured and brought to fruition. This requires personal, targeted communications that don’t push for sales until the customer already feels confident in their decision to buy.

That’s where lead scoring identifies the best incoming leads for your sales team.


Outcome 5: Sales and marketing sync

Every CEO wants their sales and marketing teams on the same page.

The real-time, first-hand insight into customer behavior and lead ranking mean your sales team will receive a comprehensive list of the ‘hottest’ leads the moment they come in.


“Marketing will do

the same thing upstream

that sales is doing downstream.”


And once they’ve received the lead, they won’t only be armed with what they need to react immediately, they’ll also know how to react in a relevant way.

Your sales team will receive the same deep, actionable insights regarding which content has the most immediate, positive impact on conversion rates and closed sales. And they’ll receive instant notifications when it’s time to leap into action.

That means your marketing team will be doing the same thing upstream that your sales team is doing downstream. This is a harmonious tandem that spells success and it’s the type of outcome that CEOs’ dreams are made of.


The big takeaway

Marketo helps you save time, increase efficiency, and grow revenue by:

🎯 providing your talent’s with actionable data
🎯 deepening and nurturing relationships with your leads
🎯 enabling your marketing and sales teams to align with a shared strategy, and
🎯 working for the same goals with the information sales and marketing need to succeed.

Communicate these outcomes, and the value of your CEO’s investment in Marketo—and your team—will be undeniable.

And remember: if we can help prepare you in any way, let us know. That’s what we’re here for.

How Can Sales Succeed With Limited Resources?

Hi Joe,

I’ve just been put in charge of the Sales team at a relatively small company. So far, things have been great – but there are definitely some limitations.

Compared to the last company I was with, we don’t have nearly as many resources for the Sales team to use.

We’re hitting a plateau right now, and I’m unsure how to break through it. Any advice on how Sales can work more efficiently and effectively with what we have?

Efficient Emma

pink line

Hi Emma, thank you for the question – I’ve been in your shoes before.

Helping your company grow past a plateau, especially with very limited resources, is a serious challenge.

Here’s some advice I think will go a very long way in helping you get through this.


Understand your tools

I can’t emphasize this one enough.

If your company has a dedicated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform that is integrated with a marketing automation platform like Hubspot, it’s crucial that you know how it operates and how you can get the most out of it.

These are essential tools that will guide your sales process, allowing you to track and define the different stages of leads as they progress from lead to contact to opportunity closed and so on.

After that, see if your company has any other tools like Outreach or Salesloft that will optimize outreach campaigns and communication. You can learn more about the 4 pillars of a Sales tech stack here.


Sync with marketing

Alignment between sales and marketing is key. Especially when resources are low, every dollar must be used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Keep direct lines of communication open with your marketing team, so sales can stay up to date with relevant campaigns, inbound and outbound programs, and other materials that marketing has put in place. These are materials sales can leverage, including:

  • whitepapers
  • product comparisons
  • product demos
  • case studies, and
  • customer success stories.

Ideally, marketing sees what happens before prospects get to sales, so make sure to leverage any intel you can get to increase your understanding of clients – which brings us to our next point.


Personalize communication

Having limited resources doesn’t mean you can’t personalize your emails, phone calls, or any other communication channel. In fact, it’s even more reason to ensure every reach-out is as effective as possible.

Doing this will require using tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator to get detailed insights into the pain points of possible leads, which will help you tailor your messaging and create effective, targeted communication points that can increase conversion rates.

If you don’t have access to software that can help with this, or you’re at a stage where you simply can’t afford to invest in a data enhancement tool, then I encourage you to do as much manual research on your leads as possible. Depending on your business, even 2 to 3 hours of extra research on a single lead is worth it if it means closing on a sale.

Once you’ve collected enough data on leads, you can work with marketing to create an ideal customer profile (ICP), as well as key personas that will aid communication strategies going forward.


Automation is your friend

If your team is hitting a plateau, one way to accelerate productivity is to automate anything you can. Find yourself entering the same pitch, message, CTA, or value offer more than once? Make it into a template!

And if you’re working closely with marketing, you should have a good understanding of what each persona in your ICP needs to hear at different stages. This will allow you to create templates with reusable content for every scenario, so you can spend more time personalizing your message.

You’ll find yourself sending higher-quality messages to more prospects this way.


Stay patient

If a certain approach or sales strategy isn’t working right away, it’s okay to persevere and see it through for a longer time.

I’ve seen far too many sales teams give up on a strategy after a single week if the email open rates weren’t ideal, only to realize later that their strategy needed more time and a larger sample size to produce meaningful feedback that can guide future decisions.

Of course, it’s good to persevere – but do so within reason. If you’ve been following the same sales strategy for months without success, it’s time to experiment with new approaches.

And when you’re trying something new, KPIs and deadlines are your friends. Adding specific numbers to benchmark against (such as reaching a minimum of 1,000 prospects in 3 months, for example) will make the process easier to control, measure, and replicate.

Follow the points above, and your sales team will certainly be getting more out of the limited resources that you currently have.

If you still need more help to push past this plateau, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

You’ve got this,


How to Explain Ideal Customer Profiles to Sales and Marketing

TLDR: Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) characterize the customer groups that best fit your services. ICPs aim to help businesses sign more profitable deals with shorter close times. Sales and marketing create ICPs by analyzing data from past customer engagements and deals, coalescing around a shared set of customer profiles to target. Marketing operations helps sales and marketing evaluate whether the data supports the personas created and guide them to refine the ICPs with each reporting cycle.


What is an ideal customer profile?

Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) are sketches of the buyers who best fit your services.

ICPs are similar to buyer personas, though they tend to characterize groups of customers rather than individual buyers. In theory, these groups are the easiest to close deals from and the most productive for sales and marketing to focus on in their initiatives.

Accurate ICPs help revenue teams do more deals in larger sizes and with shorter times to close.

But when sales and marketing teams create ideal customer profiles in poor alignment with each other, guided by personal biases over data, they risk approaching the wrong prospects with disjointed campaigns and processes that don’t attract business.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to explain to sales and marketing what it takes to create ICPs that work—a data-driven approach with 100% alignment.


ICP 101

How to get started with ideal customer profiles: Ideal customer profiles begin with data. By analyzing past customer engagements and deals, sales and marketing can identify the most common traits of customers interested in your products and services.

A team will use a variety of behavioral identifiers (e.g., types and topics of content engagement, webinars and events registered) and demographic identifiers (e.g. job title, region, company, industry) to craft ICPs along with sales data.

Sales and marketing use these insights to create personalized content, messaging, and processes to attract increased business from these groups.


The goal of ideal customer profiles:

The goal of ICPs is to help businesses sign as many deals as quickly as possible and as profitable as possible.

Factoring in additional metrics like monthly recurring revenue, time to close, retention rates, and deal size can help sales and marketing succeed by focusing on the prospects most likely to engage positively with the business and return sustainable profits over time.


How to know if your ICPs are right:

There’s no magic recipe for crafting ideal customer profiles, but if sales and marketing are coming up with many disparate profiles, it suggests that your targeting efforts aren’t specific enough.

To get results, both teams should unite around a shared set of ICPs.

Without close alignment, sales and marketing might have completely different ideas about which customer groups to pursue. When marketing’s campaigns and messaging aren’t in sync with sales’ processes and understanding of the buyer journey, it’s unlikely that your efforts will strike a chord with any particular customer profile.

Between your sales reps and marketing colleagues, your revenue team might be a broad tent of past experience and expertise with different industries and customer segments.

Personal experience can lead your team to infer the best customer traits and groups to target, but data is the only reliable basis for your ICPs.

Past success stories and sector-specific knowledge can be helpful starting points for creating ICPs, but sales and marketing need to validate any assumptions by looking at past engagements and deals.


The overall theme with creating ICPs:

More alignment means more success.

Sales and Marketing should use the same bedrock of data to target shared customer groups with campaigns and processes that complement each other.


Continuous success

Ideally, ICPs lead sales and marketing to meet and exceed their targets:

  • Marketing creates campaigns that generate better MQLs.
  • Sales develops these MQLs into higher rates of opportunities, conversions, and accelerated conversations.

To validate that your ICPs are working, encourage your team to think of ICPs as projects of continuous refinement, where each new reporting cycle is an opportunity to reevaluate if the data justifies the personas that Sales and Marketing have created.

MOPs comes to the table as a valuable source of guidance.

By analyzing the composition of your database and where deals come from, MOPs can pinpoint the percentage of leads, opportunities, and closed sales that meet your teams’ profile criteria and advise on the most optimal ways to segment your customer base.

With the latest data, consulting sales and marketing at regular intervals can help answer a range of decisive questions including:

  • How are particular ICPs performing at different sales cycle stages?
  • What profile characteristics can you tweak?
  • How might you account for ICPs in industries (e.g. government, education) that are significant seasonal buyers?
  • Are there any metrics not currently accounted for that are emerging as influential?

Whatever your reporting cadence—weekly, biweekly, monthly—a continuous process of analysis and adaptation is how your ICPs stay relevant.

Sit down with sales and marketing regularly to go through the reports, and you can encourage a well-informed and agile process of decision-making, where teams can pivot fast in response to ICPs that aren’t yielding results.


The takeaway

ICPs are valuable for Sales and Marketing to identify and refine how they target customer segments, but executing them effectively requires 100% alignment between teams and continuous analysis of engagement and deal data.

By working closely with MOPs to arrive at data-driven decisions, Revenue teams can create campaigns and processes that win more lucrative deals with shorter close times.

For any guidance with creating and executing ICPs, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

I Need to Build a RevOps Function—Where Do I Start?

Hi Jo,

I’m hoping you can help me.

My executives tasked me with building out the Revenue Operations function at our company, and I’m not quite sure where to start.

Should I be talking to my peers across sales and marketing? Or should I be doing a lot of external research?

I’m not even sure that all my colleagues know what RevOps is—and I really want to make sure they’re bought into the changes that will come down the line.

What should I do first?

Thank you,

Directionless Dana

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Hi, Dana. This is really exciting!

You’ve got the chance to define what RevOps looks like at your company and build out the capabilities that make the most sense for your teams.

How cool is that?

But you’re right, being successful will require thoughtful engagement and planning before you can make any changes. Checking in and asking for advice is already a great first step.

To help you make the most of that momentum, here are three other strategies you can use to set a solid foundation for your RevOps team.


1. Define RevOps

You mentioned that your executive team has tasked you with this initiative—but are you all on the same page regarding what RevOps is and what it looks like?

Setting a definition that everyone can agree on will help ensure alignment and prevent any confusion (and headaches!) down the road.

Let’s define RevOps: Revenue operations is a business function that’s built to maximize an organization’s revenue potential across the funnel. Instead of having your revenue operations capabilities live under sales, marketing, and customer success, you can have them operate as a single cohesive unit with accountability throughout the full customer journey. This centralized approach helps build a culture that’s intentionally focused on operationalizing revenue—rather than having it be a byproduct of other important work.

Once you’ve defined RevOps within the context of your organization, you can move on to the next step in the planning process. Read our post ‘How to Explain RevOps to Your MOPs Team‘ for more advice.


2. Identify your capabilities

Identify where your RevOps capabilities are—and where they aren’t.

It’s more than likely that your company already has some revenue operations capabilities distributed across your sales, marketing, and customer success teams.

Your job will be to:

  • look at these teams
  • identify where the work is happening, and
  • create a roadmap for how those siloed functions can move into your new RevOps structure.

This is also an opportunity to understand how tasks are currently completed. Our posts on finding the right reporting tools for your RevOps team and how to optimize content can help.

Ask questions like these to get started:

  • What tools are your teams using?
  • Are two teams using different tools for the same tasks?
  • How are your peers talking about revenue operations in each vertical?
  • What data are they looking at and how are they using it to make decisions?


With a clear picture of the current state, you’ll have an easier time mapping out the necessary changes to centralize your activities and align incentives across the board.


3. Build your RevOps network

Like with any big initiative that requires a lot of change, you will need stakeholders on your side.

My advice? Have one-on-one conversations with leaders across sales, marketing, and customer success to talk about the value of RevOps.

Talk to them about what they’ll get out of this new team, and paint them a picture of what the organization could look like over the next one to five years.

Don’t forget: you’re running a very strategic project.

You’re reshaping how your company thinks about revenue and creating a resource for making the data you collect more impactful.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and have important conversations with other leaders at your organization.

You’ve got this,

Jo Pulse

4 Steps to Explain Technical Debt to Your CMO/Marketing VP

TLDR: Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by poor planning. Think long-term about your projects, and you won’t have to choose between speed and execution. 

Technical debt describes the implied cost of making “quick fixes” to your tech stack or IT infrastructure.

Technical debt accumulates when the people building your software take suboptimal shortcuts to complete projects over more effective approaches that take longer. Doing so entrenches flaws into your tech that become more troublesome to fix as time goes on, leading to higher rework costs later.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to discuss the causes and consequences of technical debt with your CMO and suggest cultural changes to prevent it from building.


Why technical debt builds

During projects like platform migrations and implementations, a CMO and VP generally focus on contract negotiations.

Their efforts to get the best deal. This focus can, inadvertently, eat into the time needed for the technical work.

When projects start too late, those responsible for building the project will face pressure to make up for lost time and choose “quick fixes” to hit deadlines and achieve results.

While CMOs aim to make the most cost-effective decisions, they often account just for the purchase cost of a new application or platform.

For instance, your CMO may choose a marketing automation platform license cheaper than its competitors without considering the extra admin, consultation, and custom development necessary to make it work.

Add in the cost of training personnel and additional support, however, and you could well face a higher total cost of ownership. Especially if you don’t plan from the beginning to bring these resources on board, or if the project is already running behind schedule.

Short-sighted thinking leads to these negative outcomes:

  • compressed timelines
  • bloated costs and scope, and
  • increased project vulnerability due to mistakes and substandard workarounds.

These decisions compromise a project’s execution and encourage technical debt, making subsequent improvements more challenging to make.


Preventing technical debt

Influencing upwards is an impactful approach against technical debt.

Depending on the dynamics of your organization, a direct line to your CMO or Marketing VP might not be possible. In that case, look to your Operations Manager or Marketing Director as allies with the access and technical expertise to impart the urgency of starting on time.

While it’s impossible to identify every gap a solution has until it’s in-house, you can confidently speak to the consequences of a late start.

Here’s how to sell your boss on the respect the project deserves:

“If negotiations drag out and leave us behind schedule, it will impact our ability to deliver this project on time, on budget, and to the level of competency you want. X will happen if we don’t start as planned, and it’ll take Y additional costs to fix.”


Implementations and migrations

Implementations and migrations are demanding initiatives. The planning phase is crucial to map out all your anticipated costs and labor needs.

Your CMO/Marketing VP can’t expect key contributors to carry their full workload and give their all to an implementation or migration—people who are stretched take shortcuts, and that just leads to technical debt proliferating.

Freeing up key team members to commit and provide the necessary focus to the project gives them space to contribute to the best of their ability, without incurring rework costs.

For instance, sales and marketing leadership could reduce the quarterly targets of the sales reps involved, or lessen the day-to-day campaign execution responsibilities of contributors from marketing.


Create a change management team

The creation of a change management team is a particularly progressive solution to technical debt.

Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by short-sighted planning.

Advocate for a dedicated team of people to support the project from conception, mapping out the ramifications of any change in:

  • costs
  • timelines
  • resource requirements, and
  • post-implementation training.

This increases the project’s resilience to disruption and lessens the risk of technical debt.


Long-term thinking

If projects are delayed at the early stages, you’ve ultimately got a choice between paying upfront or later on.

Do you use the most effective methods to build a new implementation or migration, accepting you’ll be up and running later than planned? Or do you take shortcuts to make your initial launch date, at risk of introducing flaws into the project that carry large rework costs and compromise how effectively it works?

Between the two, it’s not an even trade.

The cost of technical debt often outweighs the agility of completing a project as fast as possible.

Steps to avoid technical debt:

1. Reinforce the importance of making a plan and sticking to it with leadership.

2. Scope out your timelines, labor needs, and total cost of ownership upfront—when things need to progress to meet your deadline, the people you’ll need to be involved in the project, and its real financial cost.

3. Advocate for a change management team to reinforce the consequences of starting late or making changes, and to find solutions in a proactive, planned manner.

4. Take the demands of your project seriously, and you shouldn’t have to choose between speed and execution.

Need more guidance? Get in touch — we’re always here to help.


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How to Create a Data Hygiene Plan That Works

TLDR: Bloated, inaccurate databases cause all kinds of problems; lost revenue and productivity, heightened risks of data privacy violations, and unreliable decision-making. Data hygiene is a company-wide project—everyone from the CEO to your SDRs should think critically about how they handle data and contribute to policies. Standardize how people collect and handle data across systems and conduct periodic audits to check the quality of your data and sources. This will drive the business forward and allow teams to support each other and reach customers and prospects as effectively as possible.


Data runs the world, and it also runs your business. Many leaders know this and have strategies for data hygiene and protection, but too often, the enforcement of policies and best practices is inconsistent. This creates a culture where teams don’t know how to collect, handle, and categorize data, and lack insight into why data hygiene is so important.

The results? Inaccurate data and bloated databases—sources of pain for people in many different roles and threats to the revenue and reputation of your business.

If you’re feeling the strain of dirty data, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. You’ll learn to explain to leadership the deep impact of bad data and influence a shift to a data-centric culture, suggesting policies, practices, and perspectives on data that help everyone in the team do their jobs more effectively.


The damage of dirty data

A database filled with entries that are inaccurate, outdated, miscategorized, or duplicated has a profoundly negative effect on the business. People doing tactical work burn hours to correct and clean data. Concerned with the quality of their information, SDRs get distracted from reaching out to people, which slows down the sales cycle. CX-wise, missing pieces of information compromise your interactions with customers, who’ll know when your outreach is less than seamless.

Between marketing operations and sales operations, bad data and unclear accountabilities cause infighting, as teams blame each other for disarray. Everyone who needs reporting, from C-Suite downwards, simply cannot surface or grasp the performance and impact of their work. With a messy database, extracting the insights to fuel strategic decisions becomes a near-impossible effort.

If you can’t trust your data, you can’t trust your decisions.

Bad news for the productivity, revenue intake, strategic potential, and inter-team collaboration of your business.

Then factor in some more explicit financial costs. You’re getting charged for your database per row—bloat = dollars spent.

Excess data also heightens the risk of breaching data privacy compliance requirements. EU regulators have issued an average of €1.4 million per fine to companies in breach of the GDPR, so if your database includes old and duplicate records of people who’ve opted out of communications or asked to have their data deleted, you need to clean up ASAP.

The larger your tech stack, the greater the likelihood (and consequences) of disordered data. Coming up with and implementing a system for data hygiene may seem like an effort that’ll slow you down in the short term, but it’s the smart choice every time over tolerating a messy database and all its chaos and revenue loss.


Develop a hygiene plan

Data hygiene is a company-wide project—everyone from the CEO to your SDRs is responsible within their remit for thinking critically about how they handle data and contributing to policies.

How does data enter your system?

The first thing to think about is how data enters your system. Your sources are often things like:

  • enrichment tools
  • CRM data
  • web forms, and
  • purchase lists.

But could also include people like SDRs manually inputting information.

Verify the source

With each new entry, verify that the source is reputable and the data is both factually correct and accurate (e.g. checking for spelling errors and duplicates). And take extra care with data obtained from gated content—in the earlier stages of the cycle, people are more likely to offer untrue or incomplete information to easily access your content.

Standardize your data types

Lots of different people touch data when it’s in the system, and without a strict policy on how to handle and categorize it, things can quickly get out of hand. Standardizing the data types you collect and fields used across your systems can help to ensure you’re handling only the most relevant information and organizing data consistently.

Form a data compliance team

To further help keep things clean, advocate for a dedicated data compliance team. This team comprises a board of people who assess the impact of introducing any new field, data type, or source into your database.

Review your approach to data collection

It’s also worth interrogating your approach to data collection. More data doesn’t necessarily make you better informed, and it’s certainly not worth the excess storage costs and risks of violating data privacy requirements.

Additionally, not all data created or data sources are equal. You may have one or several usual suspects for creating bad data. Get ahead of it by shutting those sources down so you’re not creating bad data to start with.

Ask of each piece of data you solicit:

  • What’s the purpose, use, and relevance to your goals?
  • What categories of information are relevant to your customers and prospects?
  • What information do Sales need to move through the cycle?

Auditing your systems and data on a regular basis (e.g. monthly, quarterly) is crucial to determine what your baseline for hygiene should be. This is your opportunity to detect and remedy any flaws in your database.

Steps you can take to improve data hygiene:

  • delete old and unused records
  • remove white spaces
  • merge duplicates together
  • check your integrations are tight, and
  • ensure your records are enriched with the correct information from quality sources.


Dealing with data

The way you handle data can make or break your business. Dirty data results in losses of revenue, productivity, and decision-making power—to avoid the fallout, C-Suite should treat data hygiene as a priority initiative for everyone in the organization to partake in.

Clear, enforced policies that standardize how people collect and handle data across systems, and periodic audits to check the quality of your data and sources, will drive the business forward and allow teams to support each other and reach customers and prospects as effectively as possible.

Struggling with systems and data in disorder? Drop us a line. We’re here to help.

How to Develop a New Process with Your MOPs Team

TLDR: Developing a new process and incentivising your team to follow it takes two conversations. First, learn how your colleagues experience processes and why they perform tasks in certain ways. Once you understand why certain issues arise, you’re in a good position to make constructive suggestions that benefit the team. To get leadership’s backing, forecast the impact that implementing your process will have and suggest running a proof of concept. Keep an open mind to feedback after implementing the new process, and you’ll help to encourage better collaboration and results.


MOPs is often about delivering on requests and building things for teams around the business. Every webinar, report, or lead handover system you produce takes considerable planning and time-sensitive work behind the scenes. From gathering information to scheduling deadlines and approvals, processes that encourage efficiency and good communication are key to making your projects succeed.

If problems frequently hold back your team from getting things done—whether it’s missing data, poorly-paced deadlines, or low visibility into who’s responsible for what—a flawed or lack of process is likely the culprit. You might have a good sense of how to smooth things over, but suggesting changes to how your team works requires a sensitive approach, particularly in environments where people have been long attached to how they work.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to pitch a new process to leadership and incentivise your team to follow it.


Listen and learn

The first stage of developing a new process: get to know how your team works and why. People naturally feel a great sense of ownership and personal responsibility with their work, so sudden criticism is likely to make your colleagues defensive and resistant to change. Even if you think you’ve identified a problem and have some ideas to suggest, watch and learn from your team first. 

Ask people to show you how they perform tasks, why they do things in certain ways, what their challenges and priorities are. When you’ve experienced a process from a broader set of perspectives and you understand why issues come up, you’re in a good spot to make constructive suggestions. Do your request forms give the MOPs team all the information they need? Where could a new checkpoint or approval flow help with visibility? Is there a more efficient way to order certain steps? Are your deadlines realistic and attainable?

Listen to your colleagues, take an interest in how they work, and you’ll convey that this new process comes from a place of empathy; a desire to make work easier and more efficient for the whole team. To embed a new idea into a team’s culture, you need advocates to champion the process, share knowledge, and encourage more people to participate; a human touch is the best way to accomplish this.


Make the case

Cementing a process in the team means getting the backing of your boss, whether that’s your CMO, CRO, or direct manager. Your CRO or CMO will be less sensitive to hearing about flaws, but they ultimately care about solutions that positively impact the business. Be direct in your assessment of the problems at hand, but focus on the outcome that your process will deliver, whether it’ll help people to work faster and more productively, attract more leads and opportunities, or make reporting and requests more transparent.

Numbers play a significant role in this conversation. For one, C-Suite wants to know if a process is going to incur costs for training or additional tools, so it’s reassuring news if you can use your current software to introduce new forms, flow builders, and any other technical pieces. Even more persuasive? Forecast the ROI of your proposal. 

If you’re pitching a process for the likes of webinars, with lots of dependencies to manage, you’ll have plenty of data points on hand to substantiate your case. Explain how your process will change aspects of the webinar such as spending per channel, time spent confirming speakers, building infrastructure, creating promotional campaigns, the lead handover process—and project how these changes will cut costs, increase efficiency, allow enough time for promotion, or result in more leads and opportunities.

Short on data points to do a forecast? Suggest trialling the process with a specific campaign, workflow, team, geography, or in another relevant context. A proof of concept gives you an opportunity to gather data and show your boss how the process performs in action. Run leadership through the before vs. after to illustrate how your proof of concept saves time, improves the measurement of leads, lifts ROI, or otherwise makes work easier over the ways of old, and your boss will highly appreciate that you spoke up.

Continuous improvement

Many processes connect or impact each other in some way, and the beauty of this conversation is how it can spur continuous improvement. If you’ve made some changes to your webinar process, for example, talk with your team about lead handovers. How can you measure or qualify leads differently? Will that change get leads to Sales faster, or surface more opportunities against your webinars? After you’ve got in the groove of a new process, follow up with your team regularly to gauge how it’s working and see where you can make things better.

Developing a new process and making it part of team culture starts with an open mind—speak to your colleagues and get to know how things work to discover where changes can really benefit the team. Project the impact your process can make before talking to leadership and suggest a proof of concept—if the process makes lives easier or gets results, consider your boss and team on board. Keep an open ear to feedback while the process is underway, and you’ll help to encourage better collaboration and results.

Get in touch for more on improving processes in MOPs.