This is one of those subjects that can be pretty touchy for some companies. The battle between sales and marketing has been raging as long as there have been stone tablets advertising a sale on Mastodon fur and sales guys trying to move enough Mastodon-related products to feed their families. But just because this battle is old, it doesn’t mean that is has been settled yet.
This conflict doesn’t come from having different goals. Marketing and sales both want to generate new business for the company, but their approaches could not be more different.
The sales side works through relationships by learning all about individual clients and people. Marketing works through a much less personal approach by categorizing people into audiences based on behavior and preferences.
So which approach is valid? Both are. Without a close relationship with your clients, your company can’t keep the business you have. However, without a solid marketing presence your company can’t grow. Generating leads is the most important thing a marketing department can do for a sales team. So often blame flies back and forth between sales and marketing with one side blaming the quality of the leads and the other blaming the quality of the salesperson.
The job of the marketer is to generate the best leads possible, not to complain about the sales team to anyone who will listen.
Here are 4 reasons why your marketing leads are terrible with some ways to start generating better leads right away:
1. You don’t pass leads along to your sales team correctly.
Obviously every company is different. Some companies have a CRM and marketing automation system in place that make passing leads from marketing to sales painless and simple. But other companies have only marketing automation or only a CRM. Your situation will almost certainly be unique in some way, but consider following these principles.
- Pass leads along as quickly as possible. Stale leads are worthless leads.
- Make sure the sales team knows as much as possible about that contact, their behavior, and their company.
- Don’t pass worthless leads to your sales team just to make it look like you are generating more leads than you are. Focus on close rates, not the total number of leads generated.
2. Your leads aren’t targeted enough.
Being able say to whomever you report, “Guess what? I generated a million leads yesterday!” will always sound impressive.
In reality, the total number of leads your marketing department generates isn’t really all that important.
What matters is the value of the conversations that you are starting between those contacts and your sales team. If you are generating a hundred leads a month but none of them are closing, then who cares? You are wasting your time.
Instead, focus on generating fewer leads. Although this probably seems counter-intuitive it can be the best way to sharpen your lead generation strategy. Don’t just look for form submissions and conversions. Look for leads that are almost certainly the right contact at the right company at the right time. It is a lot of work, but in the end this approach can not only improve your marketing department’s relationship with your sales team, but it can also make your company a lot of money.
3. You aren’t tracking what happens to your leads.
If your company has a CRM and a marketing automation platform in place, then tracking leads is, hopefully, a fairly simple process. If your company only has one of these platforms, then hope and pray that you will have the other up and running soon.
But just having those numbers around doesn’t do any good. You have to actually use them to improve your lead generation efforts. Tracking the ROI for each content campaign and paid advertising spend is hopefully a habit by now. But that is just a starting point. Remember to track not just the close rate for your leads but to break down that close rate by at least a few other metrics. If your company offers services to more than one industry, then there will probably be things that make each of those audiences unique.
4. You don’t break down your close rate by campaign or by type of lead.
These are numbers that can guide you as you plan future marketing efforts in a way that few other numbers can.
Taking a hard look at your company’s lead generation efforts may not be easy. Nevertheless, improving your lead generation can make your marketing efforts more valuable than you ever thought possible.