Screen shot 2012 03 05 at 1.35.24 PMOne of our recent posts, “5 Reasons to Invest in Inbound Marketing Before Adding a Sales Rep”, created quite a stir on the HubSpot forum. In no way are we advocating eliminating or downsizing sales teams! It seems like some firms aren’t grasping that sales and marketing are one team – not two separate teams with their own agendas. Sales should be able to rely on marketing to communicate the organization’s messages and drive qualified leads into the funnel. Marketing should be able to rely on sales to follow up on those leads and ultimately turn them into loyal, happy customers. By playing nice together, an organization can increase qualified leads, reduce their cost per lead, increase sales efficiency and ultimately increase their overall ROI. This post is meant to bring some clarity to how that joint team should work together.


Inbound Marketing Agency

Internal Sales Team

Generate qualified leads

Craft and communicate the organization’s message based on identified needs for each customer persona.

Potential customers will identify themselves by responding to those messages and working their way down the sales funnel.

The inbound team is responsible for rating leads based on established criteria and passing them on to sales.

Any leads generated by the sales team through networking, cold calling, and traditional prospecting methods should be shared with the IM team for inclusion in nurturing campaigns.

Marketing strategy, SEO, social media, web design and maintenance, content creation, monthly activity analysis

These are purely IM activities and don’t typically fit into the expertise of the sales team.

Lead nurturing

Develop nurturing messages that are based on the prospects’ interests and follow up on a consistent basis careful not to leave behind any qualified prospect.

The IM team should be working closely with sales to understand the nuances of their customer personas and what frequently asked questions are typically encountered prior to closing a sale.

Gain insights from IM team regarding which prospects are responding to marketing’s messages.

Use those insights to start following up and building a relationship with those leads.

Close the sale

The IM team and system should make it easy for a lead to close itself if it chooses.

You’re on team! This is where an efficient sales team gets to shine.

Ideally, this is where a sales team should spend the majority of its time, not prospecting or answering basic questions.

Moving highly qualified and “ready to buy” leads into customers by making them feel completely comfortable with their decision is best handled by a personal relationship. Very few leads will make high-value purchasing decisions without interacting with someone they trust.

Maintain the relationship

Reinforce the relationship with messages designed to expand a customer’s knowledge of additional products/services and to make them feel “kept in the loop”

Sales and service teams are the cornerstone of long-term customer relationships.

We’ve heard the argument that good salespeople should be able to generate customers on their own. While its true sales can theoretically generate, nurture, close and maintain a customer, being responsible for the entire process is not the most efficient use of a salesperson’s time. Having been one for most of my career, I guarantee salespeople would rather spend their time on closing the sale and building relationships. Bring on the qualified leads any day!

Read more: Why Creating An Online Customer Community Is The Ultimate Post-Sale Inbound Strategy