Exploring the DMZ between marketing and sales

The rapid migration of demand creation programs to the interactive world has dramatically increased our ability to generate sales leads. But this explosion in lead volume puts even more pressure on marketers concerned about fulfillment and sales follow-up.

At Tiziani Whitmyre, we sometimes feel like peacekeepers in the demilitarized zone that frequently exists between marketing and sales teams. We help companies successfully generate hundreds of leads per month that, once turned over to sales, either go unqualified or unfulfilled.

We know that when first contacting the company, more than 90% of all B2B prospects aren’t ready to buy. They are early on in the purchasing process – and sales people know this, too. As a result, sales representatives ignore these leads because they are not actionable. And most B2B companies don’t have the lead qualification, scoring, and nurturing processes in place to overcome this issue.

A recent Marketing Sherpa study highlights the problem.  “How Companies Handle the Marketing-to-Sales Process” reported that only:

  • 28% have a process for handing leads back to marketing
  • 30% have closed-loop tracking from source to conclusion
  • 39% have a process for nurturing leads not sales ready

This confirms the marketing-sales gap and demonstrates why so many leads are left to languish and die. If your company is grappling with these problems, consider the following:

  1. Set up a lead management or CRM infrastructure that can collect, segment, and track leads
  2. Install a lead scoring system that defines when a prospect is ready to buy
  3. Only move leads to sales that achieve predefined scores
  4. Nurture all leads that aren’t qualified as “sales-ready”
  5. Hand back leads to marketing for further nurturing that aren’t ready to buy

As B2B marketers, it’s no longer acceptable to implement a “find ‘em and forget ‘em mentality.” Closely align with your sales counterparts to create the lead management processes that will accelerate revenue generation and growth.