If we’re going to be able to show results for our marketing activities, we absolutely must have buy-in from the Sales team. Marketing and Sales need to be in alignment on their goals and processes. We need Sales to agree when a lead is a lead. And we need them to help us to continue to refine the leads we’re sending them. They have to let us know when a lead is NOT a lead and why. Most importantly of all, we need to know what’s happening with the leads we’re passing along to Sales. Did they call on the prospect? Did they close a sale? Did the prospect tell them to “buzz off?!”
Simply put, we need a lead management process. And we need a Sales team willing to play their part in it. In the end, with alignment between Sales and Marketing, we can generate higher-quality leads. Sales can close more business. And we can show how Marketing helped to make it all happen!
As we discussed in our last blog, The Secret to Sales and Marketing Alignment lies in an effective lead management process. Lead management best practices for the manufacturer include the following 9 stages:
- Initial inquiry
- Initial qualification
- Lead nurturing
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL)
- MQL distribution to sales
- Sales-accepted lead (SAL)
- Sales-qualified lead (SQL)
Marketing is really doing all of the heavy lifting in the first five steps. With a successfully-implemented lead management process, Sales comes in at the very end to qualify the leads that Marketing has passed on to them. And, we hope, closing lots of deals!
The first station in the process is the lead generation program. Obviously, Marketing needs to get some prospects in the gate to give us something to work with! For building materials manufacturers, lead generation activity typically consists primarily of trade shows, trade journal advertising (digital and print,) and some sort of cooperative marketing with their channel partners.
Lead gen is where most of our Marketing dollars go. And sadly, this is often where the process ends. At budget time, we’re begging for money to do more of the same next year. But, with no results to show, it’s hard to plead our case.
In our next installment, we’ll explore how to take lead management to the next station – lead qualification.
Follow our blog for more on how lead management impacts Sales & Marketing alignment.