One of the quickest, and simplest ways you can get your marketing and sales team on a level playing field is by learning to speak the same language. Sales and marketing speak two completely different languages in their day-to-day jobs, but one language that they have in common is data. In order to get in front of future confrontations, spend the time doing the leg work to agree on a common definition of a qualified lead.
Marketing and sales likely have much different definitions of what “ideal prospects” are. Use the data gathered in your marketing automation and CRM systems to help you find commonalities, and begin to craft a mutually accepted definition of a qualified lead.
To get the ball rolling, start by asking sales and marketing teams – separately – this set of questions:
- How do they define a qualified lead?
- What rules do they follow for discarding or disqualifying leads?
- What demographic or behavioral traits do they associate with qualified leads?
- How do they define the various stages for managing leads?
By completing task #1 on this checklist, you’re probably already miles ahead of most organizations who struggle with alignment issues.
2. Establish Service Level Agreements
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) take the ambiguity out of what each party expects from the other. By establishing, and clearly defining, a Service Level Agreement between sales and marketing, you are ensuring that each function knows exactly what is expected of them. This actionable agreement helps to jointly create a plan of action.
The end result of an SLA is a set of agreed-upon performance metrics. These will look different for each organization, but a few general things to agree on might be:
- The number of sales-ready leads to be delivered by the marketing team;
- The minimum amount of information to be collected before a qualified lead is passed to sales;
- The maximum time for a sales rep to follow up on a qualified lead;
- A time-frame for providing feedback to marketing on lead quality, especially regarding rejected leads.
Here’s an SLA template you can download and use.