Question 7: When is a lead truly "Sales-ready"?

The most basic definition is this: Leads are "Sales-ready" when a salesperson actively follows up on those leads and closes at least 30% of them with a good, solid profit margin.

If Marketing and Sales have the identical definition of a "sales-ready lead" (some call it a Sales-qualified lead) you have a good start at getting Sales to follow up on leads. But when Marketing and Sales have different definitions of what's Sales-ready, trouble rears its ugly head.

Sales won't follow up on leads they don't trust, simply because their time is valuable. Since most salespeople are paid on commission, dead ends cost them money.

Imagine what it would be like if you were paid according to the conversion rates of your landing pages. Wouldn't you get upset if the people responsible for sending leads to those landing pages were consistently delivering low-quality leads that didn't convert?

Getting Sales to Actually Define 'Sales-Ready'

Unfortunately, what is Sales-ready to one salesperson is not Sales-ready to another. Successful salespeople may have a far higher standard for Sales-ready than the struggling salesperson who is willing to talk to anyone. The key is to hit the agreed-upon minimum standard; then, if practical, tune your lead-scoring algorithm to the circumstances of the individual salesperson.

You may be hard-pressed to get an actual "definition" from many salespeople because it's often more of a "gut" feel if they're accustomed to working with raw, poor quality leads. That's where marketing automation systems, especially when tied to a quality CRM system, can help.

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Sid Smith is lead copywriter and marketing automation specialist for Albertson Performance Group. Sid has written on topics ranging from flex circuits to motherhood, but gets a real kick out of putting together the puzzle pieces of complex marketing automation strategies. Reach him via