Lead generation and nurturing takes dedicated effort and time. However, salespeople naturally (and rightly) prioritize working the prospects and opportunities most likely to close now. Sales follow-up is typically restricted to a small segment of people to which reps send personalized and customized messages.
Marketers, on the other hand, create content resources to attract and engage a massive number of leads, and execute lead nurturing processes to move them down the funnel to Sales. But sometimes, sales teams are less than impressed by the lead quality and quantity.
At Mention, we’ve just started aligning our marketing and sales functions to improve lead generation. We developed ideal buyer profiles, defined scoring for SQLs, and set up KPI tracking to review regularly.
If you want to generate more leads and sales, join our webinar with Sam Mallikarjunan, Head of Growth at HubSpot Labs. He’ll be sharing actionable steps for you to implement Sales and Marketing alignment in your organization.
Here’s our tested process that helped Mention triple our MRR in one year. As a salesperson, you can use these tips to help Marketing generate better leads for you.
4 Proven Steps to Generate Better Leads and Close More Sales
1) Develop your ideal buyer profile(s) with Marketing.
The first step to generating better leads is to define what a good lead is in the first place.
When we started our inbound machine, the sales team worked with the marketing team to decide on our best buyer profiles and verticals to target.
Common information to include:
The marketing team then developed buyer personas, based on decision makers commonly found within our ideal buyer profile companies. Mention's salespeople invited marketers to listen in on their client calls to uncover granular customer insights that helped to flesh out the personas.
On an ongoing basis, we test out new ideal buyer profiles and personas to see how well they respond to content. If they convert at a high rate, Sales adds them to the official list of IBPs. As a media monitoring tool company, we were targeting mostly social media marketers in digital marketing agencies before embarking on this Sales-Marketing alignment project. But through testing, we discovered other important personas.
2) Define the hand-off point from Marketing to Sales.
Most of the disagreements between salespeople and marketers happen at this point. What constitutes a sales-qualified lead (SQL)?
Marketing might consider attending a webinar a sign that a lead is ready to be passed along to Sales. However, you might not want to receive leads who didn’t explicitly request a demo.
The definition of what makes an SQL will vary from company to company -- the critical part is having one in the first place. Here are some common lead scoring criteria:
Pricing page view
BOFU content download
Last engagement date
At Mention, our head of Marketing proposed lead scoring factors and discussed their importance with the sales team. As leads are scored, Marketing and Sales come together on an ongoing basis to evaluate whether the scoring system is effective or should be adjusted. Salespeople give feedback on why they reject leads, and marketers improve and fine-tune the scoring criteria accordingly.
3) Set up a clear reporting system.
As a salesperson, your feedback is critical for Marketing to improve its lead generation strategy. How many marketing-generated leads become customers? What kind of content do you need more of? Are salespeople following up with the leads passed over? Why or why not?
A two-way reporting system is crucial for creating accountability on both sides of the fence. With modern sales and marketing systems, both teams can track metrics such as:
Number of leads passed from Marketing to Sales
SQL to close ratio
Follow-up attempts by phone and email
By agreeing upon and tracking KPIs with qualitative and quantitative feedback, the sales team can assure Marketing that the leads aren’t wasted.
4) Review process and goals regularly.
Your ideal buyer profiles change as your business and market evolve, which necessitate new marketing assets and metrics. For example, you might need more success stories for a specific vertical, or a more targeted nurturing workflow. You might need a new KPI. These are things salespeople should be communicating to marketers to make sure they continue to generate the best leads.
After we launched Mention for Enterprise, our sales and marketing teams completely recalibrated our ideal buyer profiles and marketing strategy. Now, we sync up once a week to review and report progress.
Sales and Marketing alignment is not fancy, empty talk. Yes, it requires effort and commitment from both sides, a lot of patience, and good faith. But with aligned goals, constant communication, and clear tracking, high quality leads will start flooding in.
For more tips like this, don’t miss our webinar with Sam Mallikarjunan, Head of Growth at HubSpot Labs, where he’ll share HubSpot’s tricks to unifying Sales and Marketing for effective lead and revenue generation, and show how you can apply them to your organization.
Originally published May 23, 2016 6:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017