Challenge: Breaking down the barriers between sales and marketing.
All too often marketing and sales do not work hand in hand. The relationships fall apart as sales accuses marketing of delivering garbage leads and marketing accusing sales of not engaging seriously with their leads. This problem is unproductive and easily solved. The first step is to define a qualified lead.
First, marketing and sales need to agree on the criteria for a qualified lead. One time-tested method is BANT – Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe. Other criteria may include willingness to meet with a sales rep, viewing a product demonstration, and having a product installed or confirmation of demographic information. The actual definition needs to meet the realities of business and must be customized.
Also, the description of the criteria for a qualified lead should be as objective as possible. For instance, ‘willingness to meet’ is very objective – if the prospect does not meet with the rep, the lead cannot be qualified. Other criteria can be massaged a bit, such as budget. This could mean that the company needs to have the project already budgeted before it is categorized as a qualified lead – or it could mean that the prospect knows the budgetary figures and has agreed to push for budget approval. Again, this needs to fit the specifics of the product and market.
Even after marketing and sales agree to the specific standards for a qualified lead, there will be exceptions. The first step is for the sales rep to work with their lead qualification rep and explain the issue. If this does not work out, they need to escalate to a common person so that these issues can be resolved quickly and, if necessary, further criteria added to a qualified lead.
Lesson: The first step in breaking down the walls between sales and marketing is to develop lead qualification criteria.