Marketing and sales departments can sometimes be at odds with each other, and ineffective lead hand-off is a major contributing factor.
The marketing team wants to maximize reach and evangelize the company’s brand. They’re looking for ROI with their lead generation efforts. Meanwhile, the sale team wants to close deals and spend their time talking to qualified leads—not just anyone.
When marketing doesn’t deliver a sales-ready lead, salespeople push back. When salespeople can’t close, marketers push back. This creates more animosity between the two departments.
So, what is the proper procedure to hand off leads? How can marketing and sales work together to achieve more synergy?
More than anything else, sales and marketing need to agree on when leads should be handed off. This helps marketing gain a better understanding of what sales is looking for, and it helps sales make more effective use of their time.
The exact moment of lead handoff will depend on your organization and the criteria you use to score your leads. Sales and marketing need to communicate and agree on a strategy, and the simpler it is, the better. You also can go back in and tweak the process later, but starting with a complicated setup is a good way to set yourself up for failure.
To make this process as efficient as possible, setting up your CRM correctly is essential.
You need to be on the lookout for two signals. Leads should be handed off when:
Unfortunately, tracking all your leads can be a challenge unless you’ve automated the process with CRM software. This is also where lead scoring comes in.
The sales-readiness of a lead is a moving target. It can change based on their behavior, as well as when you last reached out to them. If their role changes within a company, or if they move to another company, that’s another factor that may affect their overall score.
A lead scoring system allows you to rank all of your prospects on a 0 to 100 scale, for example, which can inform you when a lead is ready for handoff.
If you know who your ideal customers are, you can begin developing your lead scoring strategy by determining point values for each of the factors, such as what industry they’re in, their company’s annual revenue, number of pages they’ve viewed on your website, and so on. We’d suggest sticking to the 100-point scale mentioned earlier.
Then you can score each of your leads and assign positive and negative attributes to them.
Finally, you need to create a score threshold for when a lead is ready to be handed off to sales. For example, you could set the threshold to 70 or 80 points. This is something marketing and sales should agree on.
Note: It’s unlikely that your strategy will be perfect upon implementation. It will require some tweaking, and the ongoing collaboration between sales and marketing will facilitate the necessary changes. This process may require patience, but will lead to better results.
Per HubSpot, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost.
Lead nurturing is the process of delivering personalized, relevant, contextual content to your prospects to better prepare them for sales. You can generate as many leads as you like, but some won’t be ready to talk to sales no matter how qualified they are, and others will never buy from you.
It’s important to nurture leads on your prospect list, but who aren’t ready to buy. Proper lead management can help marketing identify which campaigns attracted the highest quality of leads. It can also help sales save time from talking to leads who aren’t ready to purchase, and can generate more information to personalize the selling experience.
Lead management is a combination of prospect tracking (which allows you to see who visited your website and what pages they viewed), lead intelligence collection (everything you find out about your leads through form submissions, email marketing, social media, and so on), lead scoring, CRM and ongoing lead nurturing.
In addition to lead scoring, lead management will help you determine when to hand off your prospects to sales.
Both marketing and sales want to make effective use of their time. Both want to contribute to the bottom line of the company and meet important business objectives. Their roles may be different, but their purpose is essentially the same.
If your lead handoff happens at the right time, everyone involved will be able to focus on their role, and therefore be more effective. Establishing proper communication between sales and marketing is crucial to your success.