Lead Qualification: The Key to Sales and Marketing Alignment

What makes someone a high-quality lead? If you don’t know, you’re in trouble. In fact, this can lead to misunderstandings – and even resentment – as sales claims they don’t have enough to work with, and marketing counters that the leads are there, but sales isn’t following up.

In this situation, it doesn’t matter who’s right; you need to settle your differences and agree on a lead qualification process.

Ask the four question below to qualify your leads & improve sales and marketing alignment:

  1. Is their contact information correct?

Marketers love gated content, as it allows them to capture information on inbound leads in their CRM. And in theory, this should benefit the sales team, as well. However, there may still be tension if your pipeline is filled with too many junky leads who enter fake names, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Do yourselves a favor and update your corporate contact database on a regular basis. You can also use a resource, such as ZoomInfo, to help with this process, as it fills in missing information and highlights inaccurate fields. That way, sales won’t have to waste time sorting through incorrect data, wondering who would be worth following up with.

  1. Do they match your buyer personas?

Buyer personas are profiles of your best customers. They consist of demographics and firmographics, such as common job titles, job functions, management levels, and industries. With this information in mind, you can then determine whether your targeting is on point.

But don’t just rely on your gut, here. Check in with your sales team, and then dive into your data to validate. Remember, you’re reaching out to real people, not anonymous segments. So at the end of the day, you need to know who they are, as well as how you can help solve the problems they’re facing.

  1. Have they demonstrated interest?

If someone requests a free trial, this is a definite sign of interest. But you can’t always tell where they are in the decision making process, especially in the modern B2B environment, in which buyers conduct their own research, and get multiple people involved along the way.

The same is true for lead nurture campaigns and webinars. Chances are, if someone fills out a form, they’re at least hoping to learn more about a certain topic. This is a great opportunity for one of your sales reps to introduce themselves. Or better yet, they can work with your team to implement an account based marketing strategy, identifying more key contacts to expand their efforts.

Here’s an example: let’s say Julia, an email marketer at Company XYZ downloaded one of your recent whitepapers. She may not be the right person to reach out to. But this doesn’t mean that you should give up, as her manager, or another person at the same company could match your buyer personas and be more receptive to a conversation.

  1. Does sales agree they’re a good fit?

Traditionally, the BANT framework (budget, need, authority, timeline) has played a large role in lead qualification. But there has been some debate about whether this still makes sense.

The reality is, once you hand a lead off, you won’t know whether they’ll convert. All you can do is continue to communicate with your sales team. From the outset, you should both be aware of which metrics you’re using, and how you’re defining success. Then, you can set up regular meetings to discuss the performance of past campaigns, and any plans you have for upcoming ones. If too many marketing-generated contacts are getting disqualified or stuck somewhere along the buyer’s journey, you’ll need to adjust your strategy.

Improve sales and marketing alignment with ZoomInfo’s Growth Acceleration Platform. Contact us today to find out how.