Sales & Marketing: Mind the Gap!

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I hear it all the time: “Marketing doesn’t give us any quality leads.” And, from the other side, “The salespeople don’t follow up on the leads we give them.”

More often than not, the lack of understanding and communication between sales and marketing departments results in the isolation of both departments from each other, as well as lots of “busywork” that doesn’t lead to revenue.

Sound familiar? Here’s what happens; the sales team demands more lead generation from Marketing. The marketing team then builds “lead gen” campaigns and/or signs up for events with little input from Sales. From there, Marketing delivers names that they consider Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). Sales moans that these are not qualified leads that meet the right criteria – Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) – and are left to ponder the value of the company’s marketing efforts. At the same time, Marketing complains that their sales counterparts do not follow up on the generated leads. In the meantime, valuable information and resources are being wasted.

So how do we bridge this gap and create a powerful collaboration between sales and marketing? We can break this down into a 2-part solution. In this post, we will cover the first part of the solution: the creation of a stage-gating process.

The problem is really very simple to solve if both organizations come together to create an agreed upon stage-gating process with specific parameters. In this scenario, a lead is considered to be a MQL if it meets marketing criteria that might include: specific industries, company size, actions taken online, etc. In an ideal situation where a marketing automation system is in place, you might also score the lead assigning each of these criteria a specific value. Once all of the appropriate criteria/scores are met, the next stage is determining whether it stays as a MQL to be nurtured or if it’s ready to become a SQL. In order to move to the SQL stage, specific sales criteria must be met; these might include: title, geo location, key content downloads, etc. But the most important part of this process is to ensure that Sales and Marketing JOINTLY AGREE on what makes up each stage. That way, you will have an agreed-upon system for qualifying leads and will eliminate the disconnect that too often occurs in the lead generation process.

In our next post, we will focus on the second part of the solution: jointly developed campaigns that bring both Marketing and Sales to the process – both teams invested in the approach and the results.

Stay tuned!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tim Haller
Tim Haller has over 25 years of sales and sales management experience. He has delivered training and consulting to Fortune 100 clients across a variety of industries, including technology, business services, travel/leisure and biotechnology. Tim has trained hundreds of sales professionals to close business through the use of effective sales prospecting, negotiation, and closing techniques.

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