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Best Practices

Sales And Marketing Relationship Therapy Session 2: What’s In A Lead?

Welcome back! I hope you’ve been communicating better since our last Sales and Marketing Relationship Therapy session.

Today, we are going to dive a bit deeper to address a serious bone of contention between sales and marketing: Lead quality.

Leads and their quality (or lack thereof) are at the root of many cross-functional tiffs. Sales may ask, “Who is this person? How qualified are they? What am I meant to do with them?” While marketing says, “Make sure you say the right thing! Speed to lead! Don’t let my hard work slip through the cracks!”

Here’s the thing: there is no right or wrong in this scenario. Both sides want the same thing. You’re often measured on the same outcomes. So it’s essential for everyone to get on the same page from the get-go.

Speak the same language

First off, it’s important (and downright relationship-saving) to create definitions and set constraints, getting input from everyone involved. Here at PathFactory, our sales and marketing teams worked together to build out these definitions:

  • Lead: A prospect who raises their hand by providing their information and engaging with us, our content, our events, or any of our marketing programs.
  • Qualification: The standard threshold of prospect engagement, which is largely based on content consumption and a very specific list of traits aligned to our ideal customer profile (ICP).
  • MQL: Someone who has interacted with us in a meaningful way (e.g., time spent with multiple pieces of content) and who sales can have a meaningful conversation with using the details of their specific interaction to help guide it.

Creating definitions in partnership sets a solid foundation to achieving marketing and sales #RelationshipGoals. Here are some other things to keep in mind to build and maintain a strong bond when it comes to lead strategy:

Work in tandem to build a full-funnel strategy

Both sides bring different strengths and perspective to the table. Marketing has well-oiled tactics to generate leads like nurture programs, webinars, content marketing and form strategy, and they really know the target audience. Sales knows how to engage these prospects, speak their language, and discover true pain points affecting the market. Bringing these strengths together is a match made in heaven when it comes to nailing demand gen.

Formalize strategy sessions with both parties to educate each other on past program success and share where the highest-quality leads are coming from. Be transparent when it comes to upcoming programs so sales understands what each program’s goals are (i.e., this webinar is to educate at the top of the funnel, this blog post is focused on thought leadership in the industry, this infographic contains meatier product knowledge for middle of funnel leads). Then, use these learnings to create and iterate on a joint strategy for maximum success and to ensure no lead is lost.

Build a bridge

Once you’ve created your strategy it’s time to make it #FacebookOfficial and put it into practice. Passing leads over to sales may seem simple, but there’s an art to doing it successfully. The major key lies in timeliness and type of information marketing provides to the sales team. Proactively answering questions like this for business development and sales will make the MQL to SQL process seamless:

What sort of information should I share with this prospect?

At PathFactory, marketing makes sure sales has insight into the content assets leads consumed and how long they spent consuming each asset. We believe that someone who has spent a certain amount of time with our content is demonstrating something called Engaged Intent. This allows sales to have really focused, personalized, and productive conversations because they know the prospect didn’t just open or click an email, or download a piece of content and never read it. BDRs and sales reps are going into the call with eyes wide open about the sales-readiness of each prospect.

Should I reach out today or give them more time to self-educate?

Timeliness is key. As a team, decide what threshold of content consumption represents a truly interested prospect. At PathFactory, the marketing team has configured automated alerts to notify sales as soon as a prospect meets a certain threshold of total time spent on content in a single session. Sales knows that when they receive the email alert, they need to make contact while the lead is hot. and our solution and brand is top-of-mind.

What’s the best way to prioritize a list of leads ?

This may seem like a no-brainer…and it is! Treat your leads how you would like to be treated. For example, if someone took the time to spend 10 minutes of their precious time consuming several of your content assets, it’s probably time to reach out to say hello and answer their questions. If someone registered for your product webinar but didn’t attend, perhaps a softer outreach that includes a webinar recording and a few product-related assets is the best approach. Did someone click on a white paper for 3 seconds and then disappear? It’s best to give them time and space to learn more at their own pace. The best approach is always to just be human.

Speak freely: Don’t keep things bottled up

This relationship is a two-way street. Receiving all of this vital information from marketing sets the sales team up for success when reaching out to qualified leads. On the flip side, sales needs to pass back from their experiences as well. Communication is key to any long term relationship!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But, Gina! How can I create this dialogue within my organization?” I was hoping you’d ask! Here are just a few ideas to get started:

  • Automated emails clearly indicating a lead’s content consumption activity for sales to action
  • Weekly meetings between sales and marketing to discuss upcoming programs and their objectives
  • Post-campaign emails defining goals, scope, and expectations
  • Open door policy–heck, why not tear the door down completely? At PathFactory, sales and marketing sit side by side
  • Joint team-building activities to foster stronger working relationships. Dodgeball anyone?

This is relationship therapy and nothing productive happens when feelings are bottled away. Constant feedback loops are imperative. Give your BDRs a seat at the table. These are your folks on the front line who speak to your target audience on a daily basis. The information they gather during their prospecting can not only validate your current marketing practices, but can also shine a light on areas that need improvement.

Giving your BDRs a safe space to share their feelings, address challenges, and ask questions will provide more value than you can imagine. Having clear, barrier-free lines of communication helps your BDRs know who to reach out to with specific feedback or questions and avoids any bottlenecks. When both parties in a relationship feel valued and heard, sparks fly!

Hopefully today’s session cleared up some relationship taboos, and gives you solid next steps to furthering your sales and marketing relationship. See you next time!