It did get me to thinking though...why all the bickering when the goal is the same? With apologies to Hamlet, THIS is the question for marketers and salespeople. Marketers and salespeople have the same goals: identify new customers, connect with them, sell to them, and retain them. So why all the conflict between the marketing department and the sales department?
I work for a marketing agency, and though we don't offer sales consulting services, I find that marketing strategies developed with input from the sales team are more comprehensive and ultimately successful. But it's often surprising to me how little communication there is between the marketing and sales departments, even at very large companies. Marketing teams complain that salespeople don't follow up on leads or communicate the correct message to customers. Sales teams complain they don't get the right leads or compelling materials from the marketing department.
Cooperation between marketing and sales is absolutely critical when it comes to lead generation. If you're a marketing pro with a disconnect between the sales and marketing departments, here are some questions you should ask before embarking upon a lead generation program:
- How do customers buy your products? What are the crucial decision points along the way to a purchase? Knowing where a customer is in the buying funnel and identifying those decision points helps marketing create compelling messages and present them at just the right time to move them to the next step in the process.
- Is product positioning and market messaging aligned with the customer purchase process?
- What constitutes a "lead?" How does your organization define the difference between a marketing lead and a sales lead?
- At what point does marketing turn over leads to sales? Is marketing providing the salesperson with the background information he/she needs to address the lead?
- What is the process for handling and following through with leads?
- Does that process need to be fine-tuned?
- How are results and sales calculated and tracked back to the lead generating mechanism? Is this information provided to the marketing department?
- Does sales provide marketing with feedback about the quality of the leads they receive?
Marketing departments are being held accountable for the quantity and the quality of the leads that they generate for sales. But their ability to generate those leads is directly related to the customer insight and feedback that only sales can provide. Again, the goals for the two departments are shared, so asking these questions, clearly defining the lead handling process and keeping lines of communication open will get you more results (and less eye-rolling).