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Four Ways to Improve the Lead-to-Sales Handoff

by Kathy Rizzo  |  
April 6, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Four techniques for improving the sales-to-lead handoff
  • What to include in your lead follow-up protocols

Does the following scenario sound familiar?

As a marketer, you create an effective demand generation campaign that piques the interest of your prospects and entices them to respond. Those responses are sent directly to your trained telequalification team members, who determine which companies have a real need to purchase your solution.

Then, those qualified "sales-ready" leads are delivered to Sales, each one containing details of the company's pending evaluation and purchase plans with important information to assist with sales follow-up.

You've done your job. Now, it's time to watch the magic happen. Sales will convert your highly qualified leads into opportunities and, eventually, new business. Your marketing return on investment (ROI) will be outstanding.

But, that doesn't happen. Instead, the pipeline barely increases. Why?

You investigate and find that a significant portion of your leads are now dead. You approach Sales to ask for feedback, and here's what you hear: "The leads look great, but we can't get them on the phone. We left a couple messages, but they didn't call back. They must not really be interested. The leads are dead."


If that situation sounds familiar, you're not alone. One of the primary challenges in ensuring that a high percentage of qualified leads enter your pipeline is the sales organization's ability to establish contact.

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Kathy Rizzo is vice-president of sales and marketing at TeleNet Marketing Solutions, a lead generation and lead nurturing company.

LinkedIn: Kathy Rizzo

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  • by Michelle Fri Apr 6, 2012 via web

    Wow. This is excellent information. Thanks the detailed advice.

  • by Doug Strahm Fri Apr 6, 2012 via web

    Great article! Sales often blames marketing for delivering poor quality leads and marketing blames sales for slow, ineffective follow-up. These techniques coupled with a measurable follow-up/follow-through process should really improve just about any top line. Thanks!

  • by Donna Alexander Mon Apr 9, 2012 via web

    Excellent advice that helps both sales and marketing to reach common goals - increased sales and revenues.

    It's up to top management to help coordinate the two departments.

  • by Amber King Mon Apr 9, 2012 via web

    Sales and Marketing should work hand in hand to produce the best result. One cannot work without the other, that I strongly believe.

    Agree with these tips Kathy. If it is possible a hot transfer is the best way to secure that lead. Also, the follow-up process should be implemented. Let the lead set the best time for the sales to call back to secure the appointment.

  • by PhilF Tue Apr 10, 2012 via web

    However, as a marketer, I am not compensated to pre-qualify a sales lead on the phone. If I get a spiff I am more than willing to do so.

  • by SRSALESPRO Tue Apr 17, 2012 via web

    This is a great read. In fact, I imagine most sales & marketing organizations try to follow these guidelines. Where most fall down is the timeline of the hand off and the appropriate hand off. You ASK your prospect what type of hand off is best or when they want to be contacted. If you are afraid to go there, don't do it during the hand off process, AFTER they have committed to the net step. The next biggest area organizations fall is not establishing follow up guidelines AND making sure they are met. With each and every lead/prospect. As Denise Miller says, that's just my opionion, I could be wrong.

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