Does your marketing produce a majority of your leads?
If you are the average B2B company, the answer is probably “not even close.” For many companies, marketing produces a much smaller percentage of leads than their sales counterparts. To make matters worse, the leads generated by marketing often just become a chore for sales reps to deal with. But is marketing or sales to blame? The answer is, well… both.
In most situations, a lack of closed marketing leads is due to organizational failings, not individual failings of sales or marketing.
A Skew Towards Sales Leads
In many organizations, the lead generation strategies are set up to favor leads developed by the sales team themselves. Sales leads tend to be warmer with more detailed prospect records because they have often been handled by the same sales rep since their initial conversion. Sales leads also tend to be better qualified since marketing is working from a different criteria for leads, or just hoping to generate as many leads as possible.
This broken system of poor communication and misaligned objectives has become the norm at many companies, leaving marketing and sales forever at odds. However, there is a solution.
Marketing automation tools are designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing leads. This helps create better alignment between sales and marketing, improves lead generation, and ultimately increases revenue. Here is a brief look at how this is done:
Knowledge Is Power
For sales and marketing both, updating a prospect’s CRM data is a hassle. The tedium of adding notes and updating profiles quickly overshadows the value of a detailed prospect profile. Marketing automation tools are able to pull in a tremendous amount of information for a prospect automatically. A prospect’s company, social data, recent activity and more are automatically imported into your CRM. This puts a wealth of information at your sales reps’ fingertips when they reach out to a lead.
Leads are also automatically scored and graded by how well their prospect record matches a company’s idea of the perfect lead. This takes the subjectivity out of lead qualification and puts sales and marketing teams on the same page, working from a common definition of a qualified lead.
Focus on Sales-Ready Leads
Many companies make the fatal mistake of not continuing to market to their leads. Leads that are not yet ready to purchase are passed on to sales all the same, annoying sales reps and scaring off prospects that might otherwise have been nurtured to a sales-ready state.
Marketing automation tools allow you to nurture these cooler leads automatically, freeing up your sales team to focus on the hotter leads while setting up a reliable stream of sales-ready leads. Leads can be added to drip campaigns that automatically email relevant information and content based on user actions of a set time period. Lead nurturing campaigns can be managed by either sales or marketing, allowing the other side of the house to generate more leads or focus on closing more deals.
Get on the Same Team
The biggest advantage of a marketing automation platform is that it puts sales and marketing on the same team. For most companies, this is a radical new concept. Marketing and sales can work from common definitions, toward common goals, measured by common metrics. Closed-loop reporting also increases visibility across the entire sales cycle, adding accountability to both the sales and marketing processes.
Although marketing will never generate 100% of a company’s leads, the days when marketing leads are viewed as mere annoyances to a sales team are over. Marketing automation platforms have made marketing leads valuable assets to sales teams, increasing revenue, marketing and sales alignment, and creating a much needed paradigm shift in the balance of lead generation.