Without marketing and sales pointing in the same direction, any lead generation strategy is going to struggle.

Perhaps the solution is to merge the two departments? To unleash “Project Zeus?” (....If you do anything with this blog please watch the Peep Show clip here; I love it so much) 

No. Like Mark Corrigan says “There are thousands of reasons…” But if there was one thing for the two departments to share an opinion on it would be lead generation and my many years in the business tells me that lead profiling through telemarketing is the tool which smooths the transition of opportunities from marketing activities through to the sales team.

"We need leads!"

As someone who’s worked in the lead gen business for a long time, it amazes me how often clients still come to us simply demanding ‘We need leads!’ without any real idea of what that lead should look like and what the follow up strategy is.

What the marketing team define as a lead and what the sales team define as a lead can be two different things.

I understand how this happens. These are two separate departments with very different goals. The short-termism of sales can often conflict with the long-term thinking of marketing. 

How many times have we heard “The sales team want leads where someone is ready to buy” when the marketing team have signed off a campaign designed to put fuel into their engine through a top of the funnel volume play.

Lead the conversation

As a marketer, it is your job to communicate clearly with your sales team about the negative impact short-term thinking can have on long-term sales.

Without both sales and marketing understanding and agreeing on what the ideal sales lead and sales journey looks like, you will never achieve an effective lead gen strategy.

Take a step back 

We encourage our clients to take a step back, hit the pause button and work out their collective goals. It’s not easy, but worth it.

Aligning visions of success and lead definitions leads to quality-based programmes, increased conversions and better ROI.

Once you know what success looks like ideas around tactics, deliverables and supplier briefs can become focused towards achieving that.

So how do you define a lead?

If “John Smith” has downloaded a whitepaper or watched a webinar, does mean he’s ready to purchase your product?

Often here the marketer believes they have a marketing qualified lead - and passes them on to sales. However the sales team would struggle to convert this because the reality is the lead isn’t actually sales ready.

This creates a ‘grey area’ between marketing and sales where there is uncertainty over how qualified a lead is.

Colouring in the greys

Over the past few years, marketing technology has been able to help build greater insights into leads, through intent data. I think there are some great tools and tactics that are used to bring in enquiries, targeted responses and contacts, of which we use a lot and have had some great results with.

However - in my opinion - to truly understand requirements and identify projects - a person needs to be spoken to. Conversation has the power to colour in the grey areas and convert a qualified contact into a qualified sales ready opportunity.

Through talking directly to your prospects, we are able to ask the right questions, uncover the real challenges they’re facing and discuss what can solve these.

Once that initial information is gathered a phone call is excellent for building rapport. On the phone, tone is 86% of our communication. The words we use only represent 14% of communication. (Huge fan of rapport in sales though that might be the NLP practitioner in me). It is easier to ascertain where the organisation is on their buying journey and where the contact engaged sits within that. Whilst information collected on BANT is interesting I believe this term is becoming obsolete (but that’s for another blog post).

Telemarketing streamlines an organisation’s workload. At times clients have used Kingpin as a kind of external BDR team; taking ‘marketing qualified leads’, engaging with them and profiling them to identify which ones are the immediate opportunities for the sales team to talk to, which ones are long term prospects and which are simply information gatherers.

After nurturing opportunities over the phone and building a relationship with them, only once they are fully qualified and ready do we introduce them to the client’s sales team .

This approach helps marketing teams achieve their objectives of bringing in relevant opportunities and helps sales teams hit their targets by driving up conversion rates.

It colours in the grey areas between marketing and sales, bridging the gap and making life better for everyone.