Sales and marketing have a tenuous relationship. Even though they are supposed to work hand in hand, they are often frustrated with each other.
The sales team wants more leads from marketing. Marketing wants the sales team to do a better job of converting those leads to customers.
Certainly, marketers are not blameless, but today I’m going to talk about how
the sales team can ruin a marketing campaign.
How the Sales Team Lost a Lead
Let me give you an example.
I recently signed up for a new stock photography service based on an ad I had seen on Facebook. The ad did a great job of reeling me in and getting me interested about the service.
The targeting was dead on.
The messaging resonated with me.
And, I signed up.
The marketing team did their job famously. They created just the right message for the right person and it resulted in a marketing qualified lead. Thanks to me, the marketing team can add another tally to their win column.
But after that, things went down hill in a hurry.
After getting a series of emails from the company’s founder, three different sales people contacted me to follow up on my sign up.
It seems there was no communication between each of the sales team members and they all just pounced on me as a lead.
Not only was I contacted by email, but I received multiple phone calls too.
If that weren’t bad enough, one call came through while I was on vacation. The salesperson said she saw my out of office message when she emailed, but wanted to call anyway (even though my message said to NOT call unless it was an emergency).
Because I got the full court press from the sales team, I will NOT be using this service.
So, while the marketing team did their job, the lead didn’t result in a new customer because the sales team botched the follow up.
How Marketing Leads Get Lost
Sadly, this kind of story happens all of the time. The marketing team generates a lead, hands it over to the sales team and then everything falls apart.
So much energy and attention is focused on generating leads, that not much thought is given to what should happen next.
As a result, these marketing leads never turn into sales. Here are a few reasons why this happens:
1. Clunky, aggressive follow up.
This is illustrated in my story above. The follow up wasn’t orchestrated very well. Not only was the follow-up aggressive, it was awfully clunky with multiple sales people involved.
It also made it seem like they didn’t have their act together, which doesn’t instill a lot of confidence as a prospective buyer.
No follow up.
Perhaps the biggest reason companies lose leads is there is ZERO follow up with the prospect.
In fact, one study showed that only 27 percent of leads never get contacted. That means that nearly three-fourths of your marketing leads are just thrown straight into the trashcan.
3. Leads aren’t properly nurtured.
For many B2B companies, the sales cycle can be weeks or even months. Because the buying process can take awhile, it’s important to properly nurture the leads you generate.
This means you need more than one phone call to close the deal. Oftentimes, this means using marketing automation efforts to regularly send information to the prospect and making sure your sales team follows up at the proper time.
4. Leads aren’t qualified.
The biggest complaint from sales teams is that the leads they receive from marketing aren’t qualified.
The sales team might have little motivation to pursue leads if they know prospects are not ready to buy.
The marketing team shouldn’t just focus on generating the most possible leads. They need to focus on attracting the right leads that are most likely interested in your product or service. Leads that aren’t qualified do little good for your efforts.
5. The sales process is too cumbersome.
Oftentimes, the process for buying can be way more challenging than it needs to be.
Maybe your sign up process is lengthy. Or, you take too long to follow up with the lead. Or, maybe the process doesn’t jive with how customers want to buy what you’re selling.
If signing up for your service is too difficult, many prospects
will give up and move on.
How Marketers Can Help Improve the Sales Process
Although this list might seem like the entire burden is on the sales team, there are plenty of things marketers can do to help fix the sales process and convert more leads to sales.
Here are just a few ideas that marketers can use to plug leaks in the sales funnel:
- Share the marketing campaign with the sales team. It’s hard for the sales team to do follow up well if they don’t know the campaign the marketing team is using. Make sure they understand who you are targeting and what messages you are sharing so they can
- Develop a lead nurturing process. Don’t just assume your sales team has the follow up under control. Work with the sales team to develop a lead nurturing process that will move prospects through the sales funnel.
- Use a CRM so everyone’s on the same page. If your company doesn’t have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool in place, now is the time to implement one. Using this tool will help your company assign and manage leads so you don’t have sales people tripping over each other.
- Get feedback and input from sales. The sales team is regularly talking with prospects and customers. Make sure you get their input on the features and benefits prospects want to hear about most so you can determine which messages will resonate with your target audience.
- Talk to customers. Having a conversation with customers is perhaps the most important thing you can do as a marketer. Not only will that help you better understand your target audience, but customers can also give you incredible insight into the sales process and the messages that resonated most.
Although it might be easy to fall into the blame game, the better choice for marketers is to step up and work with the sales team to find ways to plug the leaks in your sales funnel.
The end result will make marketing and sales far more productive and effective at driving the thing every business wants — more sales and revenue.
Why do you think marketing leads get lost? What are you doing to improve the relationship between sales and marketing?