How To Align Sales And Marketing to Increase Lead Quality

August 16, 2016 Johnathan Dane

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

Sales Manager: “The marketing team is giving us crap quality leads, that’s why we can’t close anything!”

Marketing Manager: “Our sales people are too emotional — they get one bad lead and they start crying.”

See, there’s a very good chance that your marketing and sales department don’t get along as much as you’d like them to.

But you're not the only one experiencing this finger-pointing war…
 

google sales vs marketing

Whether you’re a VP, SDR, AE, Sales Ops, or Sales Manager, your feedback is even more crucial than it was before.

But it’s not just about pointing fingers. It’s about giving valuable feedback that’s actionable for the marketing team, and vice versa.

As marketing has gotten more complex over the years and buyer journeys continually evolve until the lead lands in your lap, you need to arm yourself with some simple marketing knowledge that will help you increase the quality of your leads and your closing rates.

Remember, you’re all working towards the same goal.

Let’s get started.
 

The Lead Thermometer - Why You Should Care About Ice Cubes & Lava

Your chances of a sale vary greatly with where the lead comes from.

To better illustrate this point (and since I work in the field of PPC marketing), you can get an idea of how good/bad your leads are depending on where they’re coming from.

awareness interest consideration action

Before you can expect a lead to close, your lead needs to start from the Awareness phase and make it all the way to the Chuck Norris Action! Phase (which is a sale, in case you were wondering).

There’s a very good chance that your leads have already gone through this cycle and are now in the Consideration phase (which is why you’re speaking with them), OR there’s an equally good chance that you have to take them through the stages yourself, on the phone.

If you treat all your leads the same and expect them to already be educated on what you offer, then you’re not going to succeed as much as you can.

If your marketing department is running pay-per-click (PPC) ads, then they only have four channels that they can use.

  • Display
  • Video
  • Social
  • Search

Each type of lead that comes through one of these channels will have completely different close rates.

To paint a simpler picture, consider the difference between an ice cold lead (ice cubes) and a super hot one (volcano). Your ability to close a lead depends on how close that lead is to the volcano.

display video social

This is usually how the “closing intent” ranks on a scale

What you’re starting to see is that your marketing team has the ability the control where the leads are coming from.

And although some PPC channels might be more expensive than others, it all comes down to the business level revenue that’s generated from each channel.

down the funnel

The further down the funnel your lead enters, the easier your close.

So ask yourself this: Do you or your marketing team know the average sales revenue closed from each different PPC channel?

If not, then you need to figure that out right away by implementing the correct tracking (which is marketing’s job).

Most of your leads may be coming from channels that are far back in the decision making/sales cycle, and if that’s the case, then I would agree with you that these leads aren’t good.

Now keep in mind, I’m not telling you this so you can point fingers. Instead, think of it as a way to help with some constructive feedback to eliminate any sales and marketing confusion. And better yet, to end the finger pointing once and for all.
 

PPC Channel Temperatures - How Marketing Offers Impact Your Sales Ability

The other important aspect of improving your ability to close more leads is understanding what the marketing team is using as “lead magnets/bait.”

This could be anything from a blog subscriber, a guide downloader, or even better, a demo requester.

Each offer that your marketing team is promising a potential lead helps you see how ready they are to talk to you and how incentivized they are to close.

In my world, the PPC traffic we help our clients get, needs to be paired with an offer that matches the intent of the visitor.

In other words, a lead who comes through on the Display network is not ready to request a demo. Instead, they’d do a lot better with a free guide download where the demo is later up-sold to them.

Most of the time, marketing teams will try to use brute force by using the same offer on all different marketing channels. This means that they’re using a “free demo” on Display, Video, Social, and Search (your four PPC channels).

That obviously doesn’t work when someone who sees your banner ad for the first time wasn’t looking for a “free demo” while reading about Trump vs. Clinton on CNN.com.

So, if your marketing team isn’t trying to get you more “hot” visitors before going on to the colder ones, then you’ll all fail.

hot visitors

How much demand can your marketing team create?

If visitors who later become leads are searching for your brand/company name, then there’s a good chance they’re ready to talk to someone and potentially close.

The downside is that it’s not easy for your marketing team to create more of this type of traffic without doing more content (blog posts, videos, etc.) marketing to build your brand equity.

The next best thing is getting more warm visitors…

warm visitors

These are the ones your marketing team can get more of.

Warm visitors are searching for what you and your company has to offer, but they’re most likely comparing your solution to others. So keep in mind that these visitors are further back in the sales cycle than hot visitors.

Your marketing team could get more of these types of visitors by branching out their PPC keyword selection on the search networks through Google AdWords, for example.

Last but not least, you have your cold visitors…

cold visitors

These are the worst visitors, but the most abundant too.

Cold visitors are people who land on your website or landing page without being there on purpose. They have short attention spans and need something that’s intriguing (without being too threatening) quickly, or they’ll bounce.

Once you and your marketing team are able to identify which buckets most of your traffic falls into (Hot, Warm, Cold), it’s up to them to be better at creating call to actions and offers that match the intent of that visitor.

temp of traffic cta

Have your marketing team match your call to action with the temperature of the traffic.

When that happens, conversion rates will start going up and cost per conversions will start going down. Giving you more wiggle room to get more leads and more closed sales.
 

In Closing…

You can read all you want about response times, time management, and shortening sales cycles. But trust me when I say that all those issues go away once you’re able to increase the quality of your leads.

If you haven’t educated yourself on how your marketing team generates your leads, then I hope this served as a good intro to get your feet wet.

After all, you’re the last barrier between lead and money being made :)

*Featured Image Source

About the Author

Johnathan Dane

Johnathan Dane is an international speaker and the founder of KlientBoost, a no-nonsense, creative, kick-ass AdWords and landing page agency that hustles for results and ROI. If you think this article’s good, you should see what he’s writing on their PPC and CRO blog.

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