Lead quality and quantity is a hot topic for most businesses and is almost certainly the largest cause of discontent between marketing and sales departments the world over.
If you’ve ever worked on either side of the sales and marketing divide, you will almost certainly be familiar with the following scenario.
The Sales/Marketing Blame Game
Sales professionals will either cry foul if they are not presented with enough leads or cast doubt on the quality of leads when presented with too many.
Marketing professionals, in turn, will pull their hair out in frustration when hard-won, “red-hot” leads are ignored and allowed to go cold.
Finding a perfect balance that keeps everyone happy is not an easy task and can easily spill over into conflict (finger pointing) — especially at the end of a turbulent financial quarter. I like to call this situation the sales/marketing blame game.
Of course, there are rights and wrongs on both sides, but one thing is certain: Both sides need to get along and work together if they are going to reach their mutually beneficial goals.
Appoint a Lead Champion
Generating high-quality leads isn’t just a case of vacuuming them up via an email marketing campaign and web form before throwing them over the net for sales to look at (hopefully).
Leads need to be categorized and separated. Some will need jumping on straight away, and others will need a little nurturing. Then there are the tire kickers who will never buy anything from you — but even these have potential value if they are kept in the marketing loop (often, they will share your thought leadership or offers to their wider social media networks). Just don’t waste your time trying to sell to them.
This sorting process can be done manually. A quick glance at the company domain in the email address or a brief search on LinkedIn is often all it takes to identify a potential client. A little more research will help you identify your prospects, current business partners and potential challenges (if you can help solve a problem, you’ll win their business).
However, if your business generates a significant amount of leads or you just cannot afford the time to manually process every incoming lead (and who can?), it may be time to up your game and invest in marketing automation technology.
Marketing automation (like iContact Pro) will help you automatically identify the hottest of leads while ensuring any other prospects are nurtured and supported in your sales/marketing funnel until a time where they either self-identify as a potential client or are flagged as a red-hot lead.
Prospects are nurtured and engaged based on bespoke rules that you set. This does mean a little time needs to be invested upfront to ensure leads are processed correctly, but once this is done, you will be freed up to concentrate on more important tasks like content creation.
The more time you spend on content creation (for your email campaigns, blog posts and social media activities), the more granular and targeted your marketing campaigns become — and the sales/marketing machine almost starts feeding itself.
While marketing automation might not end the sales/marketing blame game, it will dramatically reduce waste in terms of letting red-hot leads slip through your fingers or spending unnecessary time on cold or even dead leads.
Isn’t it time you appointed a lead champion? Try iContact Pro for 30 days free of charge and start automating the way you manage your business leads.
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.