The Marketing/Sales Friction
Sales VP: “Marketing does not deliver us enough leads and the leads they do deliver are terrible. We are great closers, but we need more good leads!”
Marketing VP: “Sales does not follow up on the leads that we deliver them. The time window for conversion is short and they never hit it. We can deliver more leads, but we are just wasting money if sales does not follow up!”
Sound familiar? This is a pretty typical friction point between marketing and sales departments.
Reduce the friction
A great way to minimize this friction is to get sales and marketing to clarify and agree on three points:
1. The definition of a qualified lead. The clearer both departments are on what leads are the right leads for the sales department, the less friction there will be. More advanced programs have multiple definitions (depending on sales group and/or segment that the lead is coming from), and use statistical analysis to determine what the right leads are for sales to be working.
2. The number of qualified leads that marketing will deliver to sales. More truly qualified leads cost more money, so being clear on the number of leads that marketing is delivering is key. More advanced programs will have weekly lead number targets and even break the lead targets out by territory and type of lead so that the sales department can work more smoothly.
3. The process that the sales department will use to follow up on the leads. Proper follow-up is required to maximize the value of the leads, so agreeing on the follow-up and making sure that it is accomplished is key.
To some extent, marketing works for sales on the first two points, and sales works for marketing on the last point.
These points sound obvious, but very few companies actually have this process really well developed. (You can test this point by asking a few people in sales and marketing what the answers are to the issues above.)
Something even more powerful happens when companies implement something like what I described. They start becoming clearer on their target customers (the ones that really want their products) and get better at converting them to qualified leads and, ultimately, customers!