How to Nurture Leads with BOTH Marketing and Sales
I hear this myth frequently about how sales and marketing departments are at odds with each other. I get a painted picture of the two going head-to-head in a bloody medieval battle. And just like in medieval times, there’s no real victor because everyone loses when the epidemic plague hits, in this case the plague of no leads and no customers.
But it is just a myth. In reality, sales and marketing generally know that each is part of the finished puzzle. The problem is that most organizations don’t know exactly how the sales and marketing pieces actually fit together.
According to HubSpot:
- 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified.
- 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing.
- 79% of B2B marketers have not established lead scoring.
The overarching theme over these statistics is that there just isn’t any structure in place to regulate how marketing and sales interact and work with each other. There’s no process, and therefore it is chaos.
In a nutshell, marketing feels good when they generate a lead, and they know sales wants as many conversations as possible. Sales deals with leads all day, so they’re the best ones to handle them, right?
The biggest problem between marketing and sales is that marketing doesn’t know how to nurture and qualify leads, and sales is too impatient to wait for leads to be qualified before taking them from marketing.
The solution to the problem is a defined lead nurturing strategy that defines what happens to a lead when they enter the funnel, and at what point they are ready to be passed on to sales.
A Cooking Metaphor
An excellent metaphor for how this should work is in the kitchen of a restaurant. Each cook in the kitchen has a specific task that leads to an ultimate goal: the happiness of the customer. Every member of the team needs each other. The head chef couldn’t do it with his staff, unless he only wants to feed a few customers a night. The rest of the team couldn’t do it without the head chef, or there would be no consistency and no quality assurance. The restaurant would lose customers.
The separation between the roles is also important. If the head chef swoops in halfway through the task of his staff, important steps could be missed, the finished product could be subpar, and the customer could end up displeased. Conversely, if the staff decides to do the job of the head chef, important final steps could be missed, the finishing touches could fail to wow the customer, and the customer could tell everyone they know that their experience was “just alright” or “forgettable”.
Ideally the kitchen would run in perfect order. The customer places the order, and the order is delivered to the staff. The staff does the majority of the legwork: they prep the food, cook the food, plate the food, and taste the food. They pretty much completely finish the dish before the head chef even sees it. When it is delivered for final approval, the head chef only has to make minor adjustments before the process is complete, and the customer is satisfied.
This is how marketing and sales should be working together, and the process should be seamless.
Leads enters the funnel through a form fill out or an email opt-in. Marketing delivers course after course of relevant, quality content to nurture those leads until they’re drooling over the idea of working with you and your product. Then, once they’re basically begging to sign on the dotted line, the sales team work their sales sweet-talk voodoo magic, and in no time they’re a paying customer. Which is good for everyone. Lavish Christmas parties and huge bonuses are on the horizon, love abounds between marketing and sales, and your great success will continue to draw the best talent, and the cycle continues.
One Last Note: Marketing Automation is Key
In order to make all this work, a marketing automation platform is essential. There is no easy way for marketing to effectively manage lead nurturing without it. Obviously, as a HubSpot partner and expert, I’m partial to the HubSpot platform. I find it much more friendly and actionable than all the other platforms I’ve worked in. However, any good marketing automation platform will have the tools to nurture leads, set up a lead scoring program to standardize when a lead gets passed off to the sales team, and analyze the results and data afterwards. It’s well worth the investment.