“Marketing Leads are Crap!” How to Achieve Sales & Marketing Utopia

6 Questions to Ask your Sales Team to Get Buy-In Between Marketing and Sales

You’ve crafted a perfect user experience that guides your prospects through the buyer journey and nudges them to perform certain behaviors that will deem them as ready to be put in contact with a sales person. Maybe you’ve even set up your processes correctly to automatically route leads from marketing automation software to the CRM. But after leads are sent to sales, the ball is out of your court and the sales reps will just automatically pick up where you left that lead in the buyer journey, right? Wrong. If you haven’t aligned with your sales team, those shiny new leads most likely come to a screeching halt as soon as they’re passed to sales. In fact, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales (source: MarketingSherpa). But why?

Perhaps it is because the sales team doesn’t know they’re coming, and don’t have time to reach out to them quickly. Maybe they have a preconceived notion that marketing leads aren’t qualified, so when they come through, they deprioritize marketing leads, burying them in a list titled “To Follow Up.” Regardless of how much research and planning you do to craft a perfect demand generation or nurture program, if you don’t have buy-in from the sales team in your organization, you are leaving a gaping hole in the buyer journey.

In order to close that gap, keep sales involved both before and after your campaign, by asking them these 6 questions:

Questions Sales & Marketing Should Discuss During the campaign strategy and planning phase:

1. Who are your target customers?
Talking to your sales team about your target market is important because they are the ones on the front line, having intimate conversations with buyers. While marketers are able to bring a holistic, “big-picture” perspective of your target customers, sales people interact with them one-on-one, and know them on a more granular level. Customers expect a user experience fully customized to their needs now more than ever, and so it is extremely important to ask them to share their understanding of these lead on a detailed level.

2. What are their biggest objections?
Your sales people hear these objections every day, and when dealing with every-more savvy consumers, understanding your target consumer’s biggest objections to your product or service will help you to craft your camping messaging and assure that you are addressing them.

3. What information did you wish you had about a lead coming in?
While there are many factors shaping your form strategy, you should talk to your sales team to understand which key pieces of information dictate the route their conversation takes. Go beyond the standard demographic information and ask about fields that may be specific to that product, service, or industry that will give the sales person a much better idea of what to expect when picking up the phone to call this lead.

4. What do you consider to be a sales qualified lead (SQL)?
Sales and Marketing need to be in agreement as to what actions or behaviors indicate that a lead is primed to talk to a sales rep. If you take their opinion into consideration when defining an SQL for this campaign, they’ll be more excited about receiving leads from marketing and follow up with those leads faster.

Once you’ve decided on a definition for an SQL, be sure to also communicate during the campaign what route a lead took to get to them. Did they raise their hand and specifically ask to talk to a sales rep, or did they download 2 whitepapers and attend an event? Arming the sales person with this information will give them context and allow them to start the conversation accordingly.

5. How quickly do you follow up with a lead after they are assigned to you?
Best practices say that leads who are expressing explicit interest should always be followed up with as soon as possible (in fact according to InsideSales’ 2014 Lead Response Report , 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first) however whether it be due to human or technological constraints, an immediate response is not always the standard. Understand what is feasible, and come to an agreement on a SLA (Service level agreement) for how soon the sales team will follow up with leads, and how long they’ll pursue them for. That way, in planning your campaign, you can ensure to set expectations with a prospect on when they should expect to hear from a sales person should they request to speak to a rep or would like more information.

Questions During and after your campaign:

6. What were the quality of the leads?
Any good campaign obviously requires reporting and analysis. During and after your campaign has run, ask the sales people about the quality of the leads they were receiving. Were they aware of the brand and the products? Were they good prospects that had the budget and interest in buying? How long was the sales process? This feedback can help you to optimize and adapt your strategy to improve both your demand generation and lead nurturing processes and ultimately deliver better leads that will make their jobs easier and more profitable.

Having honest conversations with your sales team about your marketing initiatives and asking their expertise will show them that marketing campaigns are not just cost-centers, but revenue drivers that are working to help make their job, and the entire company, more successful.