The battle between sales and marketing is as old as business itself. With the right tactics and technology, the problem can easily be solved.
35% of leads provided to sales by marketing have no follow up at all. Those are just some of the brutal stats from a Harvard Business Review examining lead response inside a large number of companies.
And the number is not surprising based on how silo’d off most organizations are. It comes down to poorly designed workflows and a lack of accountability most of the time. In many companies, when a prospect fills out a form and creates any sort of inbound query it usually goes through this process:
- Marketing receives an email.
- Marketing sits on the email for a day or two.
- Marketing assigns the lead to the sales manager.
- The sales manager then assigns the lead to the rep he likes the most.
- The sales rep sits on the lead for a day and does some research on the company.
At this point, everyone is screaming CALL!
But the reality is that 2 things will happen:
- The research the rep does on the lead will discourage him to call,
- He will call but the customer will have already gone with another vendor who responded first.
The sales person will grumble and go back to the argument that marketing isn’t providing qualified leads. Marketing will grumble that sales squandered the lead.
Sound familiar? It’s common in most companies, big and small, to not have any sort of procedures to handle leads in a timely and measurable manner.
Speaking of timely, the chances of reaching a lead decrease by 100X after only 5 minutes; that’s 300 seconds! Ouch.
So how can this problem be solved. Firstly, the process between lead submissions needs to have every human element removed from the chain. If the way your business operates requires a callback, initiating a lead response system (like the SellResponse suite) to immediately connect inbound leads to the sales team in less than 5 minutes will pay off almost immediately.
But more importantly there needs to be a measurable way of keeping sales and marketing accountable to each other.
Service level agreements…not just for technology.
Imagine if marketing had a target for sales ready leads generated per quarter? It’s not such a crazy idea when you think about it since that’s exactly what marketing should be doing. So why not measure it and target it? Not only will marketing work harder, but there will be a much closer control of which marketing dollars are producing the most bang for buck.
But what about sales; don’t they already have targets? They do, but only in hard measures like…well, sales. But what can be done is to add a service level agreement for taking action on leads. The 3 biggies (and easiest to measure) are: how long it takes to respond to a lead, how many attempts were made to contact the lead, and what were the close rate.
Self correcting measurement.
So marketing has a target, and sales has a target. If marketing notices that sales isn’t taking action on the leads, it puts pressure on the sales manager to shape up the team, or look for improvements. Likewise, if marketing is passing leads that are not even close to sales ready, in effect junk leads, the sales department can hold marketing accountable for the quality of the leads they provide.
As an executive, you’re going to have to be a referee from time to time, but this is the kind of productive conflict that you want to create in your business.
Will this solve all of the problems? Hell no.
But anything that leads to more accountability is a good thing, and with the role of sales and marketing becoming more blurred over time, it’s critical that both parties work in sync.
Want to learn more?
Please apply for your spot in my automation consulting program. In this consultation I’ll go over the blind spots in your sales process and find the areas that can be improved.