In many organizations, a primary focus of marketing is to create sales leads. The process seems simple – marketing conducts activities that generate awareness and identify prospects. Marketing turns over the information that they have gathered on prospects to a sales person, who follows up and makes a sale. It sounds easy, but rarely does it work that smoothly.
Often, there is a disconnect between the activities that marketing does and the things that sales would like them to do. Marketing thinks that they are delivering good prospects to Sales and the sales team feels otherwise. By giving leads to Sales that end up as dead ends, the marketing team decreases its credibility, and reduces the productivity of the sales team.
Fortunately, there are good strategies for solving this challenge and fixing the Marketing/Sales disconnect. First, your organization should develop an understanding of what constitutes a Marketing Qualified Lead and a Sales Qualified Lead. Every lead that comes in – whether from a tradeshow, from an email campaign, or from direct traffic to your website – is not ready for the sales team. Some may be, but most are not.
Marketing Qualified Leads are defined as those that have demonstrated enough engagement to be turned over to sales. This could be from a downloading content on your website, or signing up for a webinar, requesting a software demo, asking for a quote, or a series of activities that increments their HubSpot score.
Sales Qualified Leads are defined as those that have passed from marketing to sales, and sales accepts them as good, quality leads. This is where good sales and marketing alignment come into play.
The hand off point from marketing to sales is something that needs to be agreed upon by both Marketing and Sales. The important thing is that Marketing and Sales agree on the criteria. Once the lead has passed from Marketing to Sales, there needs to be a defined process for follow up within the sales team to maximize the chances of a closed sale. In addition, information on the quality of the lead needs to filter back to marketing so that tactics and processes can be refined for continuous improvement.
Finally, you need to set up a continuous feedback loop. If leads are getting over to sales that are not ready, then Marketing needs to adjust tactics to improve the lead quality. Monthly lead reviews with your sales team can help adjust the process to ensure Marketing is delivering qualified leads to Sales and that Sales has a high likelihood of driving them to close.