Are sales and marketing missing the mark?
Have you seen this scenario before? Marketing sends the sales team inferior quality leads. As a result, the sales team doesn’t manage or groom the leads correctly or even take them seriously anymore. In the end, the majority of leads never result in successful conversions, if they were even attempted at all. This unfortunate state of affairs is a sign of a critical disconnect between the sales and marketing teams.
Fortunately, with a few tweaks and changes, you can realign your sales and marketing teams and quickly boost your lead quality along with how the sales team handles those leads.
1. Define a qualifying persona
When identifying a lead, how do you know if it’s a good one? Do you have any qualifying measures in place? When you define and instill measurements with lead qualification, these measurements will quickly separate the great leads from the “possible maybe” leads. It starts with a qualifying persona profile.
A qualifying persona profile is a representation of what defines your ideal customer for each segment of your target market. They have the same goals and buyer profiles that will take them through their buyer journeys.
If you find that your marketing and sales teams work independently of each other, this exercise is a great way to get them integrated working together and aligned to the same goals. Have them first start working together by defining qualifying personal profiles for each segment of the target market.
The next question for both teams to ponder is how you can quickly identify these ideal candidates, and develop a series of questions to ask these personas to assess their qualifications as a solid lead. Sales can be a great help with brainstorming with the marketing team, for each salesperson may have their own spin on qualifying questions. Your telemarketing team can ask these questions, or you may add them to an online form to the company website.
For instance, if a real estate agency tries to segment potential clients as first-time homebuyers, upgrade homebuyers, investors (flippers or resellers), or downsizers, they may start with an identifying question like this:
“Which statement best describes you?”
- I’m buying my first home
- I’m looking to invest
- I’m looking for a larger home
- I’m looking for a smaller home
Once the persona segment is identified, the marketing team can engage them with targeted questions to their segment to assess their readiness for the sales team. It also assists the sales team so they can tailor their approach to each type of buyer.
2. Progressive profiling
If you are harvesting leads from your website, it is difficult to monitor the buyer’s journey with everyone who visits your website. Some may be browsing for information and not interested in making a purchase any time soon. They may be ready to purchase in the future, so their visit still has value.
To keep your lead from having to complete irrelevant forms and risk them dropping, you can implement profiling tools like smart content or smart lead forms, which customize questions based on the visitor’s behavior browsing the site. This technology enables you to continuously gather data to qualify these leads.
3. Scoring your leads
Our goal is to make the best use of the sales team’s time to focus on those most likely to convert, thus raising their conversion rates. Since we are talking about measuring the quality of leads, we will also include scoring your leads based on attributes indicating their level of readiness to buy. The sales team can adjust their approach and priority based on scoring.
You already have your ideal personas identified and come up with qualifying questions. It won’t take long before you notice that a qualified persona isn’t a picture in simple black and white. There’s a lot of grey area where they are really strong on one point and not so strong on another. The scoring will help to gauge those topics in question.
To start your scoring process, have the sales team identify certain behaviors or attributes of prior customers that were considered highly qualified leads. Assign a number to that behavior as a way to identify and compare another candidate’s attributes. Make it 1-5 or 1-10 if there are many variances identified. The idea is that the higher the number, the more likely they are to convert. The idea is to be able to quickly profile a lead using the models before they get to sales.
At the same time, you identify positive attributes for scoring, you can also identify negative scoring behaviors that make them less likely to be ready to convert. If these identified behaviors present themselves, deduct the negative score from the positive attribute scoring.
The team should have a qualifying score defined before they pass any leads to the sales team. If a lead doesn’t make the score, it’s best to filter them instead of wasting time and resources on sales. If timing is an issue and the lead may be more qualified at a future date, there should be a process in place to circle back and requalify that lead at a later date.
4. Marketing qualification of leads
All of the first three steps help the marketing team identify a lead as a marketing qualified lead (MQL). These leads are ready to be presented to the sales team to step in and complete the conversion.
Marketing and sales alignment is critical to each of these steps, with the opportunity for feedback and adjustments when those needs are identified. As the business and the team alignment evolves, the approach may adjust as frequently as needed.
5. Sales completes the final qualification
Hopefully, the sales team now has a good list of qualified leads, what happens now? The lead segmentation may be distributed to areas of specialty between the team, and they will start on the highest scored leads first, thanks to the marketing team’s new qualification processes. They take that data from the marketing team and conduct additional research on that lead as part of their operation.
Ready to qualify some leads?
Sales statistics are usually so focused on conversions. By keeping measurements and statistics on the leads themselves, it will put the sales team in a better position with better-qualified leads that generate more conversions. Call Motivated Sellers can start that first baton pass to qualifying leads for your organization and keep your sales team out in the field making and nurturing customer relationships.