Successful Sales and Marketing Alignment, Part 3: Designing the Lead Process

Sales Mktg Alignment Part 3 FI Successful Sales and Marketing Alignment, Part 3: Designing the Lead Process
  1. The moment a prospect becomes a lead is the first step in the process. Leads advance only if they fit the qualified lead definition. A qualified lead has met the proper criteria to move to this stage in the process.
  2. When the qualified lead definition has been met, the lead handoff takes place and the process now moves to sales.
  3. If sales agrees the qualified lead definition has been met, the lead then becomes a sales-accepted lead. If sales does not agree the lead fits the qualified lead definition, they will recycle it back to marketing.
  4. When a lead agrees to engage in the sales process, they become a sales opportunity and will remain in this stage until they close. If a sales opportunity does not move forward in the process, then sales will recycle the lead back to marketing.
  5. The recycle process moves leads from the sales-accepted and sales opportunity stages back to the lead stage.

Now let’s look at the what it takes for sales and marketing teams to create a successful customer journey.

1. Define all the steps in the process.

The process doesn’t need to be complicated, but each step should be thoroughly defined and given a name. An example is the “qualified lead” step, where the lead will have to meet the qualification parameters to which both sales and marketing agreed so it can be passed to sales.

2. Draw a table or flow chart.

You should document the lead process in a table or flow chart after you’ve agreed to the steps.

3. Determine responsibilities.

Each step in the process needs an owner. For example, the lead qualification step is most commonly owned by marketing, while sales-accepted lead follow-up is owned by the sales organization.

4. Determine metrics and SLAs.

Each step will have a metric, and in some cases an SLA (service level agreement) associated with it. Marketing will agree to deliver or over-deliver a set number of qualified leads over an agreed-upon amount of time, such as a quarter. Sales will agree to follow up on these leads in a specific amount of time and be measured on their follow-up time.

5. Incorporate the process into your marketing automation platform.

Your marketing automation system can manage the end-to-end process as a lead becomes interested, initiates discovery, engages, develops into a qualified lead, and moves to sales. Don’t neglect existing customers; use your marketing automation platform to keep them engaged and create upselling opportunities.

6. Ensure sales can see into the marketing automation system.

The data and insights from your marketing automation platform must be available and transparent for sales reps. This allows them to remain invested in the lead process to the degree they choose. Sales reps will find the information from the marketing automation database, with its individual behavioral histories, a rich source of intelligence to inform conversations. Having this at their fingertips – either in their CRM or in a sales portal – ensures they have a clear view of the actions a prospect has taken. Also, when they find their own leads (through referral or other means), they can see whether the new prospect already has an existing history of engagement with the company or its products.

Did you miss parts 1 and 2? Catch up here:

Successful Sales and Marketing Alignment, Part 1: Get Started

Successful Sales and Marketing Alignment, Part 2: Understand the Buyer

Stay tuned for the next blog post in this series, where you’ll learn how to determine when a lead is ready to be passed from marketing to sales.

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