Thursday, April 1, 2010

Use an Importance - Performance Matrix to Get Marketing and Sales Talking

In my last post, I discussed the importance of building a collaborative relationship between marketing and sales.  The first step toward achieving this objective is to establish where your marketing/sales relationship is today, and one useful tool for describing the "current state" of the relationship is an Importance - Performance Matrix like the one shown below.

This matrix is used to capture the opinions of individual marketers and sales personnel about specific marketing and sales activities.  Each activity is evaluated along two dimensions - the importance of the activity and how well the company (marketing and/or sales) is performing the activity.

The vertical axis of the matrix is used to describe the importance of the activity.  Less important activities are placed in the lower portion of the matrix, while more important activities are placed in the upper portion.  The horizontal axis of the matrix is used to describe how well the company is performing the activity.  Activities that the company performs poorly are placed in the left side of the matrix, while activities that the company excels at performing are placed in the right side.

An Importance - Performance Matrix will often reveal wide gaps in the views of marketing and sales personnel and point to the issues you need to focus on in order to improve the marketing/sales relationship.

To illustrate the kind of information that an Importance - Performance Matrix can reveal, I'll use a highly simplified example.  Suppose that we want to capture the opinions of marketing and sales personnel regarding the quality of leads provided by marketing to sales.  Also suppose that our company has four marketers and ten salespeople.  All fourteen people would complete a matrix, and then we would combine the responses in a single matrix.  Individual responses are not personally identified, but we do identify which responses come from sales and which come from marketing.

The results of this hypothetical example are shown below.  As you can see, both marketing and sales personnel view generating quality leads as important, but they differ significantly about how well marketing is performing this activity.

An Importance - Performance Matrix won't tell you how to resolve conflicts between marketing and sales, but it can identify the issues you need to address.

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