For many marketers, their most important role is to fill a pipeline of leads for sales. Making sure that those leads are ready for sales is critical to creating revenue and maintaining a functional relationship between sales and marketing.
Unfortunately, a number of mistakes including the lack of standardized lead definitions and failure to measure what matters, mean that many marketing and sales departments are not aligned. This gap between marketing and sales is costly, causing marketing to default to a cost-per-lead mentality, and sales reps to expect low quality leads.
One of the keys to successful marketing and sales alignment, according to Chatterjee, is identifying who’s responsible at each stage of the funnel and to understand where leads are in the cycle. However, to get to this point marketing and sales should have an open dialog about the shared pain points and what’s creating the gap.
Five Actions to Take Right Now to Improve Results
According to McDade, there are a number of actions that businesses can take to improve marketing and sales alignment and, as a result, improve results of the organization overall. These actions include:
Accurate market definition Oftentimes, the market being targeted is too broad. McDade says that utilizing relational segmentation can actually help achieve higher sales at a lower cost.
Standard lead definition The definitions of a marketing-qualified lead, sales-qualified lead, and sales-accepted lead will be different for every company, but are important to establish. McDade encourages marketers not to disqualify leads based on budget and timeframe. Both of these are based on need and aren’t something that customers are likely to accurately provide.
Focus on quality, not just quantity Too many raw, unqualified leads can create a clogged marketing and sales process and an ineffective funnel. More leads don’t equal more success, so instead of focusing on the number of leads sent to sales, marketers should focus on the quality of those leads.
Measure what matters
McDade recommends evaluating leads using SiriusDecision’s Demand Waterfall and working toward improvement at each step.
Tear down silos, allow leads to be passed back and forth
Leads need to be passed back and forth and nurtured until they’re closed. Far too often, leads end up in a black hole between marketing and sales. Organizations need to keep leads moving!
Employing Automated Messaging to Keep Leads Moving
According to Chatterjee, keeping leads moving isn’t difficult, but it does require a curriculum and diligence in execution.
There are a number of different lead nurturing programs you can put in place to keep leads moving and better qualify them. Types of automated messages include:
Drip Programs Drip programs maintain prospects’ mindshare until they’re sales-ready, allow you to recycle leads that were found to be not ready, and deliver sequence for relevant and personalized communications – at appropriate intervals
Triggered emails allow marketers to send a follow-up email from a registration form, send webinar confirmations and reminder emails, and respond to specific actions that your prospects take.
Marketing automation, such as Act-On Software, lets you set up these lead nurturing programs so that information goes out to prospects on a timely basis and doesn’t take a lot of effort..
Using Lead Scoring to Create Better Marketing-Qualified Leads
According to Chatterjee, lead qualification fills the space between marketing activities and sales activities in the sales funnel. Using a combination of lead scoring methods, including profile-based, behavior-based, and B.A.N.T, can help marketing provide better qualified leads to sales. What to score could include anything from email marketing (e.g.: who clicked on the message) to web visits (how many pages did they visit, which pages did they visit, how often do they visit the site).
After implementing lead scoring, Chatterjee stresses the importance of measuring your success and making program adjustments. He also talked about the importance of engaging with prospects to drive increased lead scores, and turn them into sales-ready leads. These actions also provide an opportunity to test different segments and see which messaging they respond most favorably to.
Marketing automation provides the tools necessary to implement critical marketing practices including lead nurturing and lead scoring. Learn more about Act-On’s approach to marketing automation by registering for our live marketing automation demo.
The Marketing Automation Quickstart Guide
A Definitive Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Marketing Campaigns
Act-On uses its own and third party cookies to perform analytics, to serve you tailored advertising and content including on third party sites and to enhance the performance and functionality of our websites and software.OkayLearn more about the cookies we use.