The Life of a Lead
Let me paint you a picture. It’s your 10-year wedding anniversary. You and your spouse just finished dolling yourselves up and got into your car. You’re both on the way to this brand-new Italian restaurant and you can hear your stomachs rumbling over the soft-spoken words of Billy Joel on the radio.
You finally arrive and spring for the valet service to make the night more memorable. Your table is ready and waiting for you once you get inside. The waiter comes over and tells you the evening’s specials, and it happens that you both order the same special: the Veal Scaloppini. You and your spouse enjoy a nice bottle of red as you reminisce on the night you first met.
15 minutes go by, and you can practically taste the veal already. The waiter makes his way to the table and informs you they are out of veal. How can this happen? It’s very simple: there is a disconnect between the front of the house (Wait staff) and the back of the house (Chefs). Surely, if the waiter knew they were out of the veal, then he would not have offered it to you.
That situation is extremely frustrating, and unfortunately similar things happen in sales and marketing all the time. There is usually a disconnect between what marketing presents and what sales is looking for. It’s imperative to get both departments on the same team.
Marketing and Sales Alignment
In an incredibly competitive day and age, it’s important to have everyone in your company honed in on the same goals, and know how to achieve those goals. There must be no drop off between sales and marketing. It’s the age-old “Sales is never happy with what we send them and they aren’t doing there job” vs. “Marketing has no idea what we need to actually turn these leads into customers.”
Sales and Marketing are actually on the same battlefield, fighting towards the same end-goal: more customers. If they can focus their efforts and have a unified front, your sales and marketing teams would be unstoppable…. Right?
When both sales and marketing are firing on all cylinders (the same cylinders, as well), it means more success for the marketers, for the sales team and most importantly for your company.
So, What is a Marketing Qualified Lead?
If you reverse engineer the term “marketing qualified lead,” you will, in essence, define what that term means. It is a lead that is qualified to be marketed to. To become a “marketing” qualified lead, that lead must have performed different and specific actions on your site. For example, if they downloaded your most recent eBook “How to Get the Most Out of Your Sales Team,” you know know this lead is interested in sales team productivity and efficiency.
From there, the marketing department can enroll this contact in a series of nurturing emails based on the actions they have taken on your site. Each email should provide value to that lead and push them down the sales funnel.
What is a Sales Accepted Lead?
Your sales team should work closely with your marketing department to determine which leads get handed over the fence to sales. Sales should sit down and understand the actions that each lead took, and determine if it’s the right time to speak with someone in sales. If not, they should be entered back in further lead nurturing campaigns. This results in more educated prospects once they finally get to your sales team.
Sales Qualified Leads
Qualifying leads shouldn’t stop once a lead is handed over the fence to the sales department. Upon the initial connect/discovery call, your sales rep should focus on understanding the prospect’s pain points. This part of the sales process is important to make sure that, not only are you a good fit for them, but they are aslo a good fit for your company as well.
Once you’ve established that the relationship is a mutually beneficial, it’s time to turn that lead into a business opportunity.
At the end of the day, your company needs to take a closer look at some of your most successful opportunities. It’s important to take a step back and see what these opportunities initially looked like as leads. How was your company able to nurture that lead into becoming a successful opportunity?
You can study things such as successful email nurturing campaigns and different actions those leads took on your site. It will then become a no-brainier about what needs to be replicated in your marketing and sales processes to produce more successful opportunities.