At most companies, marketing teams will generate a lot of leads into the top of the funnel and send them over to the sales team for follow up and prospecting, hoping a percentage of them will turn into opportunities and customers. However, if you’re overflowing the top of your funnel with leads, you’re likely overwhelming your sales team with a lot of low quality contacts which end up being a waste of their time, causing them to lose trust in the marketing team.
In reality, it’s better to fuel your funnel with fewer, better quality sales ready leads. Doing so will help your sales team be more productive and hold relevant conversations, offering leads and prospects genuine solutions to their problems. Fueling your funnel with the highest quality leads produces a higher yield on marketing leads and drastically impacts the bottom line.
Use these 4 ways to ensure your marketing team is generating higher quality, sales ready leads:
1. Align sales and marketing
If your sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned, forget it. Marketing will spend all of their efforts generating leads that sales won’t follow up on. Sales and marketing need to agree on who their buyer personas are and work together on a regular basis. Discussing the outcome and quality of leads at a campaign level is crucial for starters. This may be time consuming, but understanding the quality of leads from an email campaign or webinar and getting feedback from sales is essential in being successful. If your marketing team ran a webinar and sales followed up with the leads and their feedback was negative, then marketing needs to figure out why and adjust their strategy accordingly. This goes for all marketing campaigns. The goal is to generate higher quality, sales ready leads, not just any lead. In fact, aligning sales and marketing leads to 38% higher sales win rates (source:MarketingProfs).
Get more statistics on the importance of the sales and marketing alignment here.
2. Identify your buyer personas
Identifying your buyer personas goes hand-in-hand with aligning sales and marketing. The two teams need to agree on who they’re targeting. Marketing should talk to their sales, finance, and client services teams and then use existing data to validate their findings. Remember, you’re all part of the same organization and have the same end goal in mind: increasing revenue. Look at the following data points to help identify your buyer personas:
- Top performing customers
- Best leads
- Biggest deals
- Customers who closed fastest
Companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate (source: Aberdeen Research Group).
3. Nurture your leads
There are people in your funnel who either have a need for your product and don’t realize it yet, or have a need for your product but aren’t ready to buy at the moment. That’s where lead nurturing comes into play. Lead nurturing programs continue to educate these contacts until they’re ready to become customers. Use triggers in your lead nurturing programs to help determine if a contact is closer to becoming ready to purchase, such as the download of a product data sheet.
When the sales team gets leads that aren’t ready to buy yet, they should be entered into marketing’s nurture program so you can continue to have conversations with them until they’re ready to purchase.
4. Ask qualifying questions
Shorter form fields maximize conversion rates, so only ask for information you really need (see how you can shorten your form fields while still gathering important contact, demographic, and firmographic information). However, do try to incorporate a qualifying question when appropriate. This helps your sales team prioritize hotter leads vs. colder leads. Your questions don’t have to just be on forms- they can be during a webinar or in a survey you send out via an email campaign.
Following these steps will help you maximize on your best leads and prospects and ensure your marketing team is generating higher quality, sales ready leads.
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