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Build a Bridge Between Marketing and Sales Activities

July 28, 2010 By Mike Drohan
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One way that the marketing team can better support the sales team is by adding the skill to call and qualify the needs of prospects and clients. This goes against the grain, because marketing typically doesn't follow up on leads. But the key message here is recognizing that it's not a good investment of the sales reps' time to follow up with prospects who have not been qualified. Many companies, Fortune 500 included, are looking at leveraging the time of the sales team as an area of great opportunity.

Here are several examples of how using lead qualification specialists—whether developed in-house or outsourced—can further process leads, leverage the time of the sales team and open opportunities for sales leads:

Event Marketing—Prospecting work needs to be done in a short window around webinar and seminar dates. A large number of calls must be made to generate interest and registrations before the event, and then more calls need to be made to follow-up immediately after the event. Often, even though marketing did a great job on the event, the follow-up calls after the event can be poor to non-existent. Two issues that can cause poor follow-up are 1) too many prospects that are not qualified and 2) the short window after the event. There is still work to be done before giving these leads to the sales team.

At trade shows, many companies stop by the booth just for the giveaway. Second, often the right company stops by the booth but not the right decisionmaker. Third is that the window of opportunity closes quickly right after the show. It's no wonder that 80 percent of trade show leads are never followed up on. The marketing team should call to follow up on the leads to beat slow-moving competition, make sure that no sales leads fall through the cracks and qualify needs to keep the sales team from spending any time with unqualified prospects.

Traditional Direct Marketing—Not every person who downloads a whitepaper is a qualified prospect. Many are doing research, writing a term paper or looking for competitive information. Before handing the inquiries over to the sales team, the marketing team should call each prospect to learn why he downloaded the whitepaper, identify if he's a decision-maker or influencer,  qualify his need and motivate those who have a need to meet with a sales rep.
 
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Most Recent Comments:
Karen - Posted on July 28, 2010
I agree with Lorraine. Calling prospects is a sales activity. If there is a chance this can be a sales call, does the screener hang up and say I'll have sales call you back?

People need to be more targeted in their approach and know quality is better than quantity. You can identify or eliminate people before hand by doing a bit more research or by using qualifiers when asking for information. The example you used regarding the whitepaper download can be resolved by asking people those specific questions you listed before they download the info...it's the cost to download the wihitepaper.

If someone handed me hot leads all the time, I'd go into sales too, but it's more than just talking to interested people on the phone. There is an art to selling.
Lorraine Craymer - Posted on July 28, 2010
At some point I think that there will be no such thing as a marketing dept and a sales dept - they'll just be one team and your article demonstrates why.
There isn't a clear line between the groups anymore.

In my mind, I always drew the line at the place where someone had to actually pick up a phone and call a person. It's the thing that most people will point to as the reason why they don't want to go into sales- one on one calling.

It is not easy to do and even though the call types you point to are among the easier calls to make - I'd still suggest that this is the type of contact best left to an inside sales team.

If the sales team is willing to delegate the one thing that makes them unique - an ability to manage one to one personal contact- they should just turn off their blackberry's and head off to the tar pits- cause they're clearly on their way out the door.

On the other hand, when there are just too many calls to be made in a compressed period of time, marketing would be well equipped to manage high quality voicemail campaigns and when they do it working with the sales team - you've got yet another way to bridge the gap.

Lorraine
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Archived Comments:
Karen - Posted on July 28, 2010
I agree with Lorraine. Calling prospects is a sales activity. If there is a chance this can be a sales call, does the screener hang up and say I'll have sales call you back?

People need to be more targeted in their approach and know quality is better than quantity. You can identify or eliminate people before hand by doing a bit more research or by using qualifiers when asking for information. The example you used regarding the whitepaper download can be resolved by asking people those specific questions you listed before they download the info...it's the cost to download the wihitepaper.

If someone handed me hot leads all the time, I'd go into sales too, but it's more than just talking to interested people on the phone. There is an art to selling.
Lorraine Craymer - Posted on July 28, 2010
At some point I think that there will be no such thing as a marketing dept and a sales dept - they'll just be one team and your article demonstrates why.
There isn't a clear line between the groups anymore.

In my mind, I always drew the line at the place where someone had to actually pick up a phone and call a person. It's the thing that most people will point to as the reason why they don't want to go into sales- one on one calling.

It is not easy to do and even though the call types you point to are among the easier calls to make - I'd still suggest that this is the type of contact best left to an inside sales team.

If the sales team is willing to delegate the one thing that makes them unique - an ability to manage one to one personal contact- they should just turn off their blackberry's and head off to the tar pits- cause they're clearly on their way out the door.

On the other hand, when there are just too many calls to be made in a compressed period of time, marketing would be well equipped to manage high quality voicemail campaigns and when they do it working with the sales team - you've got yet another way to bridge the gap.

Lorraine