The disconnect between Marketing and Sales can mean that companies have trouble defining what a good quality lead looks like. But perhaps the challenge is learning to look at the same lead from different points of view.
The Eternal Problem
I have been working in technology Sales and Marketing management for over 15 Years and the relationship between Sales and Marketing has never been stronger. The shift in use of technology in both Marketing and Sales has created enormous opportunity for greater synergy, insight, analysis, productivity and automation but it still hasn’t changed the fundamental debate that happens at all levels between Sales and Marketing.
The same set of questions and statements still gets asked at all levels of Sales & Marketing management and operations:
- Marketing does not pass enough quality leads to Sales
- The leads Marketing pass are unqualified
- Sales do not action the leads quickly enough
How Do Marketing Decide What a Good Quality Lead Looks Like?
Lead scoring is a methodology used by Marketing to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization. The resulting score is used to determine how leads should be engaged with (e.g. by Sales, partners, teleprospecting, email marketing) and in what order of priority.
Typically, this is based upon the activity that a lead has taken, whether that is in person, on the phone, or online.
With the advances in marketing automation technology, Marketers have increasingly used technology to automatically allocate these scores based upon predefined actions, such as page visits, webinar registrations and content downloads.
For example, a prospect who downloads an eBook from the website will receive a score, say 20, and somebody who requests a trial or demo of product could receive a different score, perhaps 50. When this cumulative score reaches a certain point it will then trigger another action – for example further information being sent or a contact from a Salesperson.
Digital Marketing and Digital Content Marketing is creating so many opportunities for Marketers to connect with prospects that automated lead scoring is becoming increasingly important.
In an ever-sophisticated world, Marketing professionals are continually looking at the algorithms and scoring profiles based on actual results.
For example, if prospects that actually end up buying products and services attended at least one webinar or watched one video then Marketers should adjust the score that is applied to those that watch webinars or videos.
How Does Sales Decide What a Good Quality Lead Looks Like?
Salespeople like ‘hot’ leads. The best Salespeople are experts at judging what represents a hot lead and acting accordingly. Most Sales best practice focuses on 3 keys areas:
- Size of the pipeline
- Quality of the pipeline
- Pipeline conversion
So, to hit quota, Salespeople want to focus their time on those leads with best chance of closing. This typically means they focus on leads that:
- Have the budget available to buy
- Have the necessary authority to recommend the purchase or buy the service
- Have a defined requirement or need for the product or service
- Have a defined timescale in which they want to purchase the product or service
However, much of the time, this data is not known at the stage that the lead is passed from Marketing to Sales. Although a good Sales team will be able to recognise when certain types of leads are likely to have these characteristics.
For example if Salespeople are presented with webinar data as Marketing qualified leads, they are much more likely to approach those that actually attended the live or on demand webinar rather than those that just registered as they demonstrate more of the characteristics demonstrated in point 1-4, than someone who just registered.
The disconnect between Marketing qualified lead and Sales qualified leads still exists.
So even from these basic definitions and scenarios above we can already see there is still a disconnect between a Marketing qualified lead and a Sales qualified lead. It is hard for marketers, even with the advances in technology to truly understand all the factors to create a highly qualified lead from the perspective of a Sales person. The good news though for all is that the gap is closing.The content techniques like webinars and the qualification and scoring methodology that Marketing is using is helping Marketing to deliver ‘better’ quality leads than ever before. Both Marketer and Salesperson can identify what a quality lead looks like to them, the key is to work together to align how to define what a good lead looks like to the company.