Common problem – proper follow-up on leads from the sales department and quantity of qualified leads from marketing. This issue is magnified in a start-up company, with the fast and furious approach from all the A players. Low hanging prospects get all the attention from sales and the TLC for a prospect still on the fence often gets ignored. Marketing may be providing leads without qualification criteria or providing leads with too much qualification criteria. Things are getting messy, and finger pointing is starting. In my experience, by stepping back and evaluating the two distinct groups, their personality types, and trait attributes – just a few refined processes can get things humming again.
Sales are incented to close deals, and they often don’t take the time or have the personality attributes to ‘mess around’ with significant prospect administrative details. Recognizing this is key! As we all know, sales is a numbers game. The more qualified leads you have, the greater your chance to close deals. So it is mandatory that the sales team be COMPLETELY focused on making calls and prospect follow-up instead of updating all the relevant information in Salesforce.
Yes, I’m advocating taking the important administrative tasks of lead follow-up away from Sales and giving it to Sales Operations. We can yell at Sales all day long for not updating Salesforce, but even if they update Salesforce, it may not be correct. I’m not saying that is ok. Let’s just recognize it and move on and give the responsibility to Sales Operations.
Marketing and Sales Operations peeps have an entirely different trait profile then Sales – and this is good! A methodical, detailed approach is a common attribute for marketing and should be for your Sales Operations person. Matter-of-fact, the person, should straddle Marketing and Sales in the organization chart but have a direct report to Marketing.
The new approach answers the questions on what happens to leads when sent to Sales. Is the new lead immediately getting an email or a phone call? Are the criteria for lead qualification too strict? All of which can often be the case in a start-up environment. How did the first qualification call go? Did the Sales person take good notes? Marketing helps bridge that gap where prospects often fall into and never come out.
I have found that a more high touch approach from Marketing can make all the difference. Marketing can get more involved in setting up calls and demos, being the note-taker on the first call, creating prioritized custom lead views and even adding tasks to a sales person’s queue, these tasks enable sales to be able to concentrate on moving the prospect to the next step in the buying process. My experience has been that Sales is very grateful to have all the busy work done for them, making their day more productive. These refined methods give Marketing a distinct advantage too, they are more involved and understand the quality of the leads firsthand enabling them to tweak their current lead generation programs or develop new ones. By accentuating the best skills of each discipline, you can bridge the gap between Sales and Marketing for increased productivity and revenue.