Will we or won’t we enter a recession? The economic indicators are all over the map, but one thing is clear: SaaS investors have a hawk eye on profitability. As a result, teams are shifting their priorities from growth at all costs to converting qualified leads, and adding value for existing customers.

The good news? The pandemic and its resulting digital transformation has prepared us for this moment. As marketers, we have the tools and the data to understand the customer journey better than ever before. Today, the most critical thing is sales and marketing alignment. According to a recent SugarCRM survey, 63% of sales and marketing leaders agree that team misalignment is hindering growth. And disturbingly, over a quarter of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) never get a follow-up from sales.

What’s happening here, and how can marketing help? Identifying the points at which a prospect is most likely to convert could be the secret to surviving — and thriving — in a profitability-obsessed downturn.

Here are three ways marketing teams can help sales maximize revenue growth:

Convert Interested Prospects Into Leads Faster

You’ve created the perfect campaign. The one that draws in qualified prospects who binge your content. You’ve established first contact, but your job as a marketer isn’t over yet. With all of the emphasis on automation and efficiency, the power of human connection still matters more than anything.

These interested prospects are seven times more likely to convert if you respond to them within an hour. Yet, only 37% of companies respond that quickly. Most of these leads get lost in the shuffle because of a lack of ownership. Marketers can accelerate this last mile of lead conversion by getting the right prospect to the right sales rep at the right time. Skip the unnecessary step in your automated email cadence by putting qualified prospects in touch with appropriate sales team members faster with technology like scheduling automation.

Related Article: Are the Days of Salesforce Marketing Qualified Leads Over?

Screen Your Prospects More Thoroughly Before Routing Them

In the same SugarCRM survey referenced above, more than half of sales leads were considered poorly qualified or under-qualified. A prospect who fills out a form to receive an ebook might not equal an MQL. Yet many marketing teams treat all leads that establish some form of contact the same way. The result is unnecessary frustration and wasted time — on the part of both the prospect and the sales team.

Taking the time to prequalify your leads is a critical step. For example, many companies have multiple product lines or features that pique the interest of prospects. Perhaps you’re losing prospects at the stage where they might sign up for a general demo meeting, because they’re not interested in everything your product has to offer. Asking simple qualifying questions can route prospects to the right sales rep with the right knowledge for their needs.

Sharpen Your CTAs

People are 300x more likely to click on an email with a single, prominent call to action (CTA), versus multiple CTAs. Are your campaigns too wishy-washy or vague? If you’re using CTAs like “Learn more,” you might be missing out on important opportunities to convert, or at least advance the prospect further along the buyer journey.

Learning Opportunities

For prospects that are early in the journey, segment your database further so they receive the content that’s most relevant to their next step as a CTA. For those closer to purchase, a meeting might be more appropriate.

Regardless, it’s important to cross-reference campaign data from your CRM to understand whether your CTAs are converting. If they’re not, it might be as simple as the wrong offer at the wrong time — or too many offers at once.

Related Article: Using Customer Relationship Management to Promote Business Growth

Conclusion: Bottom Line Is Sales and Marketing Alignment

At the root of all of these recommendations is sales and marketing alignment. If these teams are not aligned on the ideal customer profile (ICP), primary verticals and other key lead scoring indicators, you’re in for a long road ahead.

Achieve strategic alignment first on what makes a qualified prospect, and then optimize your technology stack to understand where these prospects are in their journey.

From there it’s a matter of empowering your sales team to own these leads, understand their pain points and seamlessly pass them to customer success to ensure they become happy customers.

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