Republicans and Democrats argue all the time. Fans of long-time rival sports teams argue too, regardless of whether the rivalry is at the high school, college or pro level. Players argue with umpires, referees and judges. Kids argue with their parents and everyone argues with their cable company and wireless phone providers. So why is it so hard to understand why marketing argues with sales?Marketing generates leads and Sales tells them how bad the leads are. Worse, they fail to generate leads and Sales tells them how useless they are. Sales follows up on the leads, gets traction with only 5 out of 100, and Marketing tells them they suck at lead follow-up and selling. There must be a better way...
Both departments share the blame.
Marketing must stop confusing requests for free anything as leads. These requests are simply people that requested free stuff. They could become a lead at some point, maybe even tomorrow, but they sure as hell aren't leads right now.
Sales must finally learn, once and for all, how to more effectively follow-up on today's web-generated leads. It's not the same approach as call-ins, write-ins, or bingo cards.
One thing that can help solve the problem is to put qualifiers on the (not leads) contacts. Then, when a competent person follows-up, the contact can be objectively, rather than subjectively qualified. The problem with this is that we should not be qualifying the opportunity, only scoring the quality of a contact.
Contacts can be awarded points for:
- being an appropriate person by title,
- being the right size company,
- being in a targeted vertical or geography,
- participating in relevant or related activities,
- having appropriate interest, and/or
- being in an appropriate timeline for buying.
They should not be qualified for whether or not they have the money to spend, whether or not you can speak with a decision maker right now, or whether or not they are ready to buy. It's too early to be asking those questions and when salespeople or appointment setters start asking those questions, even a good lead will turn bad.
There's a good reason why those types of qualifying questions can't be asked until a compelling reason to buy has been identified. Until that point, a prospect has no incentive to share the answers to those questions because it's a waste of their time and salespeople are disqualifying a disproportionate percentage of opportunities because they jump the gun on qualifying. On the other hand, at least those who are doing the disqualification are making an effort to qualify - even if they are too early...
There will always be some friction between Sales and Marketing, but the two can get along, collaborate and work together if they can agree on 4-5 subjective qualifiers that can place proper expectations on what constitutes a lead, who should follow-up on leads, and what that follow-up should sound like.