Interview with Jaakko Paalanen of Leadfeeder

WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SALES AND MARKETING AT LEADFEEDER?

Our marketing aligns with what we call the ‘sales machine’. In our line of business, if marketing doesn’t work then sales does not work either. They are fully dependent on each other and we have a very transparent funnel that is shared across sales, marketing and customer success so that everybody can understand the different parts of the funnel.

WHAT ARE YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR A LEADER IN A TRADITIONAL SALES ORGANIZATION IF THEY WANT TO BUILD A MODERN SALES MACHINE?

Firstly, they should build a closer relationship between sales and marketing. Marketing should have at least some responsibility for generating revenue. That would put pressure on marketing to produce higher-quality leads for example. When it comes to sales people, they should understand marketing better and do marketing activities themselves by using their social profiles and learning about the customers. It is getting harder and harder every day to reach someone via phone. I’m not saying that cold calling is dead, but it is getting much tougher.

HOW HAVE YOU ORGANIZED YOUR ROLES AND MANAGEMENT?

We have a customer success and product lead, then me from the sales side and our marketing lead and we all get together monthly for our funnel conversion meeting. Together we’ve mapped the whole process from marketing all the way to customer success. In the marketing team we have a paid marketing expert, who optimizes our analytics usage, paid advertisement and Google and social media ads. We have a couple of content people who are responsible for our messaging and they were very important from early on. Our marketing lead is very hands-on involved in the day-to-day marketing development.

WHAT ARE THE ROLES IN YOUR SALES TEAM?

It has been possible to build this business model without having sales guys chasing customers. Our sales guys are in business development roles. They are, for example, doing 30-minute trainings with trial customers who request training. These are very important to us, because when we offer these trainings we have a 50% conversion rate.

They are also in charge of our weekly webinar. This is for our no-touch customers. For mid-touch we offer 30-minute trainings. With enterprise customers we work very proactively, so from the moment they sign up for a trial we try to be in touch with them within five minutes.

In our sales machine, we try to keep the customers in the training funnel and enterprise separate to give enough focus. For trial users who have not logged any activity in three days, we proactively get in touch with them to make sure the probability of converting is as high as possible.

The job of marketing is to create new trial sign-ups and that is the main KPI. Creating brand awareness and word-of-mouth is also good, but the main goal of marketing is to drive traffic to our website and convert them into trial users.

I think a mistake that many companies make is that they try to get as many sign-ups as possible. For us it is the quality of the conversion that allows us to operate so efficiently on the sales side. Qualified sign-ups are essential for us. If they have a certain type of account, then it’s not counted in sales conversions. We have lots of transparency in what is qualified and what is not.

If marketing cannot feed qualified leads, then our sales machine doesn’t work. Sales helps marketing because our sales team is responsible for our partner companies. Our sales people are responsible for getting our partner companies to create content about us, so the sales team also helps to create content which means we can generate more traffic and sign-ups.

This interview is a part of the book Revenue Growth Platform.

More information: http://axend.fi/revenuegrowthplatform


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