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A business can’t survive if it can’t meet its revenue goals. It’s as simple as this. But the marketing and sales truth goes much beyond just recognising a target market.

What most businesses don’t understand, is the fact that generating revenue isn’t just the sales team’s responsibility. It also depends on how effectively the marketing team is performing, and how in-sync the goals of the two teams are.

But here’s the truth – the sales team expects a particular type of leads from the marketing team, which clearly has no idea of the same and ends up creating independent personas. The end result of this lack of communication – assuming everyone to be the ideal target customer.

Target market vs Ideal customer

Target market is a marketing term that refers to a particular group of consumers that a business wants to reach out to with a specific service or product.  It is a carefully put together analysis of the competitor customer demographics, segmentation, positioning and marketing message.

While it defines the high level criteria of who you’re addressing in the market – age, gender, background, etc, it doesn’t really tell you who amongst this group would be your ideal customer.

An ideal customer is the one who doesn’t just know a bit about your brand, but is also more likely to convert – without too much of persuasion.

Here are a few things that the marketing and sales teams need to do together:

1. Define the ideal lead or prospect

Since both marketing and sales teams might have different personas, it is important to commonly establish the criteria of who an ideal lead would be. Accordingly, create a customer journey for the ideal lead and demarcate the duties of each team clearly – which stage the lead is at, who is responsible for pursuing the lead to convert him into a customer, etc.

Defining an ideal lead constitutes of two sections – the demographics of your target which are tangible and measurable, and the psychographics which cover their beliefs, cultures and values. It is important to understand your prospect behavior before reaching out to them. This helps create personalized campaigns and customer journeys that convert more.

2. Create real-time alerts

According to a report by Central Selling Organization (CSO), 44.6 percent of sales reps need help in identifying potential buying signals and prioritizing accounts of different clients. Marketers, who are interacting on the forefront to generate leads should set up alerts so that the sales team is able to pursue potential buyers at the right time.

Alternatively, marketers, while generating leads, can fill out this information in the CRM so that it is easily accessible to the sales reps. They can document their interaction with the prospects, so that the reps know exactly where to pick up the conversation from. This will also reduce the buying cycle.

3. Define lead scoring metrics

Lead scoring is the process of ranking prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value of each lead to the business. This score is used to determine which leads need to be engaged with, in order of priority. Having an effective lead scoring system in place decreases the risk of losing prospects who are more likely to convert on a shorter buying cycle.

Here is a 5 step formula for creating a leading scoring process for your business:

A few other points to consider include the recency of engagement, volume and timing of events that indicate a prospect’s imminent plan to buy the product or service.

4. Analyze and exchange data that matters

Today, the amount of data available online is endless. With new social channels, applications and communities coming up every other day, volumes of prospect data is easy to find. The challenge though, is to extract insightful data from the same.

Most marketers and sales reps end up analyzing the wrong prospect data, increasing the buying cycle period. And at other times, they’re either making use of invalid or outdated data for prospecting.

The solution to this challenge is using a dynamic process that will not just catalog the existing customer data, but also pull out insightful and actionable prospect data from the volumes available online.

Instead of trying to maintain master sheets, the business must make use of a CRM that can be accessed by both the marketing and sales team. This lets each know what the other is doing, the data that is available, what data generated is of no use and what they need for better prospecting.


While it might seem a little difficult to bring the two teams in-sync with each other, most successful businesses priorities aligning marketing and sales in 3 main areas:

  1. How customers make buying decisions
  2. What language or message to use for reaching out to them
  3. Common sales method

This alignment helps the marketing and sales teams identify their ideal prospects or customers, and not focus on pursuing the market that is less likely to convert.

Takeaway: Not everyone in the target market is your ideal customer. The marketing and sales teams need to work together to identify who makes for an ideal prospect or customer from the leads generated over a period of time.

Here are a few steps you need to take to bring marketing and sales together:

  • Identify your target market and segment it based on their interests, online behavior, etc
  • Create ideal buyer personas under each segment
  • Define clear marketing and sales processes
  • Establish a lead scoring system
  • Use a CRM for managing marketing data and the above defined processes
  • Create real time alerts along side your lead generation campaigns

Remember, the idea is to reach out to the right set of people at the right time and convert them while they are still interested in what you have to offer. About 71% of internet leads are lost because companies don’t respond fast enough, don’t be one of them!



by Vanhishikha Bhargava

Vanhishikha is a Content Marketer at Saleschakra. With her experience in the digital industry, she creates insightful copies for sales and marketing campaigns of small businesses as well as startups. Listed as one of the top 5 marketers to follow on Medium, you can reach out to her on Twitter for a quick chat around this post!