It’s supposed to be easy. Sales lead generators qualify a prospect’s inquiry and then send it to a sales rep. Why then is the age-old conflict between marketing and sales still on-going? They’re like an on-and-off couple.

Maybe it’s not as simple as it sounds. The B2B buying process is typically regarded as more complicated than the simple buy-and-sell routines you see at the local convenience store. And in industries like enterprise, healthcare, and insurance, the addition of technical information just makes it worse.

So how exactly do you map this allegedly simple model over a reality where all parties say, ‘Interested’, ‘Maybe’, ‘Interested but must save’, ‘Interested but boss isn’t’, ‘Still need to learn more’ and (perhaps worst of all) ‘It’s complicated.’

To think you’d only get this sort of thing with tweens and social media drama. Sadly, these accursed two words can apply to a lot of business processes and relationships (including everything to do with B2B marketing and sales). Making orders to ‘uncomplicate it’ is hardly the magic bullet solution you’re looking for. Instead you need to nail down the parts of the process that are complicating things:

  • Decide on who has the final say – Covering the basics of B.A.N.T. may be enough for lead generators. But is it truly enough for the sales reps? One little detail you should observe is that this is actually a responsibility for sales reps. If they call the shots, they need to mean it. If B.A.N.T. is not enough for them, they need to justify it.
  • Bring both together for PIM – Product Information Management requires the participation of both parties precisely because the sheer volume of it can be a problem for both of them. Let them all agree on the limits of prospect understanding so they’ll know how to best implement the right practices and the right technology.
  • Equalize the responsibilities of both – Lead generators are responsible for creating leads. Sales reps are responsible for following them up. Avoid making one job more important than the other’s. Marketers have the responsibility of making sure a lead is properly qualified to the letter and sales reps must follow up without any take-backs regarding the standards they’ve set up.

When you firmly assign responsibility, it’s harder to point fingers. You make sure that both parties faithfully live up to each other’s expectations. Be it in human relationships or in business processes, that’s one simple way to keep it from growing complicated.