We Just Disagree
"Several months ago I was meeting with a Director of Marketing Operations and we were reviewing their corporate lead qualification process," says Carlos Hidalgo in a post at the Annuitas Group blog. "As he explained how they qualify leads, I asked him if sales and marketing agreed on the definition of a lead."
The executive didn't just respond in the affirmative, he provided a document with a number of agreed-upon definitions. The apparent progress impressed Hidalgo—until his next meeting with the company's Director of Inside Sales. "During the course of that conversation," he notes, "I made mention of the shared lead definitions that they had developed together with marketing. He responded with 'What definitions?'"
According to Hidalgo, the disconnect between Marketing and Sales isn't uncommon, and produces an all-too-familiar situation:
- Marketing uses its view of the world to qualify leads.
- Sales rejects the leads, saying they aren't actually qualified.
To avoid this counterproductive cycle, Hidalgo recommends the creation of a Lead Qualification Model in which Sales and Marketing work together to:
- Define terms related to all phases of the buying cycle. For instance: inquiry, response, lead, prospect, Marketing-qualified lead, Sales-qualified lead and closed deal.
- Develop a profile of the ideal customer. "Criteria such as size, location, industry, audience, etc. should be identified and documented," notes Hidalgo.
- Determine the criteria used for lead qualification. "The objective is to create standards that will allow everyone in the organization to identify when a lead should be qualified for routing to sales, which leads should be nurtured and which leads should be discarded."
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