Sales and Marketing: Lead Hand-off in the Funnel

Last week I wrote about the ever-present Sales/Marketing problem.  The two departments can’t get along.  ‘Twas ever thus.

Apparently it’s still true that Sales and Marketing can’t align enough to have a common definition of the ideal customer, customer requirements and who makes up the buying team.  And that’s just for starters.

The really hard part is managing leads.  Let’s picture the good old funnel.  A whole bunch of leads come in through the top of the funnel, mostly courtesy of the marketing department, although some may originate in sales.

Marketing doesn’t want to let this funnel part of the process go because they want to see what happens to the leads they brought in.  Sales doesn’t want to let this part of the process go, because this is their job. This is what they do.  They need control of the funnel.

Or do they?

It’s been my experience, when Marketing dumps a boatload of leads on Sales, that Sales complains about all the bad leads.  So Marketing must, absolutely, qualify the leads before they go to Sales.  This saves Sales time and probably saves the company money.  It also gives Marketing a better way to trace the source of those leads that are good.

But it cannot stop there.  Marketing must hand-off the qualified leads to sales with the understanding that Marketing needs to know exactly what happens to those leads.  No fair if Sales has the power to say the leads suck without documenting the follow-up in detail.  No fair if Marketing says the leads are qualified when the leads don’t meet the criteria both parties have agreed upon.

So, somewhere in the middle of the funnel, Marketing must hand-off only the qualified leads, yet continue to stay in the loop.  Then Marketing needs to nurture the remaining leads, a process in and of itself.  And that’s another blog.

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