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Turn Leads into Revenue: Looking Beyond Technology to Team Collaboration

If your leads aren't converting to revenue, you may need to review how leads are handed off from marketing to sales. 

To keep leads converting regularly both marketing and sales should be held accountable for their deliverables. Internal handoffs between teams should be clearly defined and consistently executed!

Marketing and Sales Collaboration

It’s a tale as old as the modern sales org: sales blames marketing for not delivering enough quality leads and marketing blames sales for not adequately following up on leads. 

What if the answer lies in the way that sales and marketing work with each other?

If this sounds familiar to you, your marketing and sales teams will likely benefit greatly from defining and following a clear handoff process and SLA. Let’s look at how the process to align your marketing and sales teams:

Defining the Sales to Marketing Handoff Process 

  • Define how leads are handed off from marketing to sales
  • Define what a qualified lead looks like for your company
  • Establish SLAs for marketing and sales teams
  • Standardize lead reporting that is being used company-wide
  • Commit to communicate and regularly check-in between marketing & sales

1. Define the hand-off between marketing and sales

First, we need to understand how leads will be sent between sales and marketing. What is the best way for teams to be notified in order to increase the likelihood of the lead being reviewed and followed up with in a timely manner? As we discussed in a previous post - speed to lead is essential for converting leads. 

Pro tip: Can you utilize your communication tools, calendar booking links, or other tools to facilitate the hand-off more seamlessly?

2. Define what qualified leads are in your sales process

You’ll never be able to measure and grow your leads if you haven’t established what a quality lead looks like. Specially you’ll need to define what a MQL and what a SQL are for your business. This definition must be accepted on both your marketing and sales teams so both teams are looking at the same data.

Common definitions of a MQL and SQL are as follows:

MQL: A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead that the marketing team has deemed more likely to become a customer compared to others. This determination is based on criteria such as which: web pages were visited, content offers were downloaded, CTAs were clicked, and social posts were interacted with. (HubSpot)

SQL: A sales qualified lead is a prospective customer that is ready to talk to a sales team. Typically, this lead has expressed enough interest in your product or service, that they're ready to move into your sales process. Usually, they've been researched and vetted by your marketing department and then handed off to your sales team. (HubSpot)

3. Increase conversions Establish SLAs for marketing and sales alignment

You may be thinking a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is for work with outside companies, but an internal SLA can ensure teams are working smoothly together and understand what is expected of them. According to Workboard, 69% of high-performing companies rank communicating business goals company-wide as the most important and effective way to build a high-performing team, but only 7% of employees know what they need to do to contribute to company-wide goals. 

SLAs are a great way to increase individual employees and teams’ understanding of how they need to contribute to hit company-wide goals.

Marketing SLA: Marketing should commit to generating a certain number of qualified leads per month. To generate these leads, they can use strategies to create inbound content such as blog posts, webinars, podcasts, attending trade shows, or utilizing ads. 

Sales SLA: Once marketing contributes leads to sales, sales must commit to following up with leads in a timely manner and following up with them a certain number of times. Any lead that sales rejects should be reviewed by a small group of leaders who can commit to being impartial. Knowing that any rejected leads will be closely reviewed will incentivise sales to be thoughtful when rejecting leads. And focusing on a smaller number of rejected leads will allow marketing to focus on how to improve leads to lessen instances of unqualified leads. 

4. Standardize reporting company-wide

Now that you’ve established a shared vocabulary around what defines qualified leads, both MQLs and SQLs, you should determine which reporting will be used company-wide to track these numbers. 

Have you ever been in a meeting where Marketing and Sales are reporting out different numbers? Using shared reporting increases the likelihood that all teams are united in their efforts to reach those goals. After all, Marketing only succeeds when Sales does and vice versa.

5. Commit to regular meetings between teams

Of course, the best laid plans only work when people agree to commit to them and regularly review them. That’s why we suggest holding regular meetings between sales and marketing to both discuss new leads and review current content needs. 

Each week, marketing and sales should meet to review new leads from that week. This will not only foster communications between the teams, but also ensure that all leads are being properly worked. 

Each month, marketing and sales should meet to review content needs based on feedback that sales is getting from talking with prospects and customers. Updating content will ensure that the quality of leads attracted remains high.

Next Steps for Creating a Better Marketing to Sales Handoff

Sometimes, sales will talk to leads who may be the right fit for your offerings, but just aren’t ready to purchase yet. For these cases, you should create a nurture program where a seller can easily indicate that the prospect is not ready to buy. This way, marketing can segment and nurture the contacts by sending them relevant and timely communications. Ultimately, when the prospect is ready to purchase, your brand will be top of mind.

If you want to solidify your consistent customer focused approach across the customer’s entire lifecycle, you may also want to review your sales to customer service handoff, which we will cover in a future blog post!

Ready to align your teams and fast track your business results? If you’re looking for help defining or operationalizing handoffs between marketing and sales, let's talk.