How do you bridge the gap between marketing and sales? Your marketing and sales teams share the challenge of increasing company revenue. As CEO, you have the challenge to ensure that both groups work together effectively to achieve the targeted revenue goals. Too often the CEO is told by Marketing that the leads generated are more than adequate to reach the revenue goals and that the problem is sales execution. At the same time, the Sales Manager is complaining that Marketing is not providing the sales team with enough quality leads.
Marketing says the leads are terrific. Sales says the leads are terrible. How can this dilemma be resolved? Let’s look at the steps in a well-managed and coordinated campaign to bring about the desired results. First, the marketing department contracts with an outside telemarketing agency or has an in-house lead generation group call into a list of narrowly defined and profiled raw prospects to uncover actionable sales opportunities.
Prerequisites of a good lead
All leads generated should describe:
- A responsible individual at a targeted business
- Demonstrated responsibilities in the area of interest for the offering
- An identified pain point
- A plan or desire to respond to the pain point
- An identified timeline for action
- Uncovered budgeting considerations
- The contact’s role in the decision-making process
- Other team players with identified roles in the decision-making process
- Expressed willingness to talk with the client’s sales representatives
Accelerating the sales cycle
To continue to move the sales cycle forward successfully, the responsible salesperson contacts the identified prospect and begins to establish a relationship. The information provided with the lead becomes the structure around which the salesperson can chart the follow-up contact.
Now, it’s the sales rep’s job to contact the prospect again and begin to tell the company story, articulate a differentiated value proposition, and lead this prospect down the road to a sale.
Once the salesperson has the prospect on the phone (and remember it may take 5 or more attempts before reaching the prospect), here is a simple five-step approach to ensure sales effectiveness:
You’ve got 30 seconds
In the first 20 to 30 seconds of the call accomplish the following:
- Clearly state your name and the name of the company.
- Briefly in 2 sentences or less describe the company.
- State the value proposition (how do customers benefit from dealing with you).
- Remind them of the previous contact, so they know this isn’t a “cold call.” Say something to the effect “you may recall we spoke with you a couple of days ago;” don’t wait for an acknowledgement just state that fact and continue. The task is not to test the prospect’s memory. The goal is to have a productive conversation with the prospect and advance this prospect to the next level. Use the information developed in the first conversation as a tool in delivering your value proposition.
- State what you hope to accomplish with this call.
During the next couple of minutes begin to interview the prospect. Continue to use the information obtained in the initial discussion as a tool, without positioning it as “you said…” This puts the prospect on guard and interrupts a conversational flow. Stay focused on your goals at this point in the sales cycle. The outcome of this call is to take the prospect to the next stage in the sales process.
Bridging the gap
Whether you’re a small company trying to get traction or a larger company trying to fill your pipeline, you need to implement an in house or outsourced lead generation system that is clear to all parties and meets with their expectations. Marketing should retain ownership of and continue to develop leads until such time as they reach the status of an “A” lead ready for Sales involvement.
Five steps to success:
- Clearly identify your target audience and stay focused.
- Develop your value proposition and tailor it to the audience.
- Be direct, professional, persistent, and persuasive in all contacts.
- Stay focused on moving the sales process forward.
- Know the metrics and track results.