As you go through rigorous business planning meetings to map out a successful 2012, you may be discussing goals of all kinds: goals to close X number of net new customer deals, goals to expand your reach as an organization, or even goals to grow your business.

Whatever your goals may be, keep in mind the importance to connect your sales goals with your marketing activities. Don’t wait to do this mid-year or even a month down the road. In order to set off on the right foot, you must be aligned from the get go.

Here are two major tips to avoid miscommunication as you plan your way into success:

  1. Align tracking systems: Sometimes your marketing people like to work in Excel or another contact management system while your sales people focus solely on updating CRM. This can cause headaches of all sorts. If there is disconnect between marketing and sales tracking, then they’ll always be a disconnection in your organization. Marketing can’t be effective if they can’t analyze sales results to tie back to marketing activity. In the same breath, sales can’t follow up appropriately if they don’t have background information on a prospect.
  2. Define what a lead means to you: There are multiple phases to a sales cycle and they differ from organization to organization. If your marketing people have a different idea of what a lead means to them, then there will always be a struggle when a lead is passed on to sales for follow up. Make sure it’s completely clear with both your marketing and sales departments to what a lead looks like and what the process is for hand-off.

I hope this helps make your planning meetings more effective, setting the stage for a successful and prosperous 2012. Cheers and good luck!

By Bethany Foyt, Project Manager and Writer at The Partner Marketing Group

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