476362211Lack of lead nurturing is one of the most common problems in the fields of lead generation and management. HubSpot statistics reveal that only 25 percent of leads are legitimate and should be advanced to a sales rep.

Knowing where leads are in the buying cycle before moving those forward are essential for optimum efficiency and success. So how do you determine the right threshold to transfer leads to sales?

The Timeframe

If you’re looking for a magical formula that will help you determine when a lead is ready to be moved on to sales, you’ll be highly disappointed. Numerous factors need to be taken into consideration and each case should be examined on an individual basis.

Your company needs to develop its unique formula that impacts lead nurturing efforts. Your sales and marketing teams need to work together on coming up with lead categorization and qualification practices.

The use of the right software and management program will also help marketing pros notify their counterparts in sales of the progress being made and the time during which they should get involved.

Differentiating Between Leads

When considering whether or not to pass a lead on to sales you must first consider whether or not it is a marketing qualified lead or a sales qualified lead. Sales qualified leads are ready to be contacted by the sales department while marketing qualified leads need to be nurtured down the sales funnel.

The manner in which leads engage with your company will help you determine whether they belong to the first or to the second group. The number of times a potential client has visited your website is one of the metrics to measure.

Other important metrics to track in your attempts to differentiate between the two groups include the lead source and the lead conversion count.

Turning Qualified Leads into Prospects

Now that you have defined the difference between marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads, it’s important to learn how to move them down the funnel.

Remember that a big percentage of the qualified leads are not ready to purchase yet! Marketing professionals should be ready to work on nurturing the relationship until these leads can be moved further down the sales funnel.

Providing these leads valuable content upfront can make all the difference in the world. Make sure that your company’s website contains everything that leads need to learn about products, their features, corporate culture, values and beliefs. Social media marketing and other channels should be utilized to enhance communication even further.

Giving leads value is another opportunity for making them sales-ready. Explain what customers get, why products or services are priced the way they are and what turns your product or service into a superior market possibility.

Defining the Sales and Marketing Funnel

The sales and marketing teams should reach an agreement about the lead funnel, in order to close a bigger number of deals. Very often, the views of the two teams clash and efficiency decreases significantly.

To define the lead funnel, both of the teams will have to agree on the following stepss: 

  • Understand the quality of the leads
  • Select the right criteria for lead qualification
  • Come up with the company’s individual definition of a marketing qualified lead
  • Rely on a lead grading program to determine the importance of your marketing activities
  • Keep on analyzing the sales and marketing funnel stages – using analytics can help you optimize processes.

Every company has an individual approach towards lead nurturing and qualification. Instead of looking for a highly specific formula that will give you the answers, work on establishing a partnership between your sales and the marketing teams.

Mutual efforts and analysis of lead generation/qualification practices will help you develop a system that works best for your company. Want to discuss more sales-related topics? Join our discussion group on inbound.org below!

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Originally published Oct 17, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016

Topics:

Sales and Marketing Alignment