As digital marketing evolves, inbound marketing techniques drive closer collaboration between sales and marketing. Gone are the days when these teams were separated by invisible walls and unbreakable silos: The line between them is more permeable than ever.
Marketing should function to attract and qualify leads, while sales should close the deal. However, there needs to be constant feedback and collaboration to ensure both can do excellent work.
After all, marketing teams have “big picture” research and data analysis that helps reveal large trends. On the other hand, sales teams have the opportunity to sit down with decision-makers late in the buying process and learn about potential objections marketing must address.
One of the best ways to align marketing and sales is through comprehensive lead scoring.
Getting Started with Lead Scoring: The Basics
Lead scoring ranks individual leads by giving them a score according to behaviors considered predictive of a future sale. By observing these behaviors, which are captured as leads interact with B2B marketing materials, sales teams can recognize when it’s time to take action.
Not only does this allow them to zoom in on the best-qualified leads, but they can also spend fewer hours chasing down contacts who ultimately won’t buy (or won’t buy for many months.)
How can you do it? It’s far from simple, but a systematic process makes it possible:
Define Marketing-Qualified Leads
Before marketing can hand off leads to sales, those leads should engage in a defined set of behaviors that tell you “here’s a live one!” Exactly what those behaviors are will vary, and it may take some time before you have the data you need to make a truly informed assessment.
Some possible criteria for MQLs include:
- Requesting a demonstration or trial.
- Requesting “bottom of the funnel” content.
- Reading or clicking through on certain emails.
- Following or engaging on social media.
Clarify a Handoff Process
With B2B marketing automation, it’s easier than ever to ensure fully-qualified leads are brought to the attention of sales pros right away. As soon as leads cross the relevant threshold, ownership of said lead should be assigned to a sales rep, who is instantly notified. All such notices should get time-stamps so sales pros have a definite timeframe to take action.
Review and Implement Lessons Learned
Not all MQLs will ultimately make a buy, but you should see a clear uptick in sales, less time spent on individual leads, and more leads being serviced effectively by each representative. Keep track of results so the qualification thresholds can be adjusted as appropriate.
Lead qualification drives alignment, ensures better handoffs, and makes life easier for everyone. Some refinement is always necessary, so the sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll reap benefits.