Marketing automation solutions bring significant benefits in terms of demand generation to a wide range of companies. It’s very clear that marketers can now generate, score and nurture leads to a level that was not possible just a few years ago. However many companies fail to convert this breakthrough into success as measured in terms of pipeline created. The reason that many companies fail to exploit their demand generation success is that they fail to implement strong structures and process to manage the final piece of the marketing funnel.
Lead scoring and nurturing tools ensure that a company can manage the top of the funnel through to marketing qualified leads (MQL). However the technology alone will not bring these leads through to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) and into pipeline. This final part of the journey through the funnel requires human interaction.
The key to achieving this is to create a dedicated team that takes the MQL and converts them to SQL. Many companies try to short cycle this by having the sales teams do this job. This does lead to pipeline but not as much as the MQL flows would suggest. The reason for this is simple; sales people will take the shortest route to solving their need and will cherry pick the good leads and leave the others. Why spend thousands on demand generation programs, only to have your company waste the investment, due to lack of rigor?
A dedicated team, which has the key philosophy of ‘Love Every Lead’, will maximize the sales pipeline from your leads. This team can report to either marketing management, sales management or through its own structure to the Chief Revenue Officer. Often referred to as a Sales Development team, this group will ensure that all leads that are promoted by the lead scoring system are contacted and communicated with, in a structured way.
Loving every lead will ensure that your company is:
- Responsive: There are numerous studies that show that a quick response leads to higher conversion rates.
- Professional: A company that engages with a lead that does not turn into an opportunity can still gain from a prospect’s positive experience. These can lead to referrals, which are very powerful in today’s socially connected world.
- Learning: The sales development team is now a great source of feedback to the demand generation teams on the effectiveness of programs.
- Efficient: This structure will ensure that your company gets the best ROI on your program dollars, when measured in pipe to spend or a close to spend type metrics.
It’s up to the sales leader to be the champion of this process and to create the proper environment for this success. Ready to get started? You might want to check out our Definitive Guide to Sales Lead Qualification or our Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing.