3 steps for successful lead handovers and recycling

Customers are increasingly interacting with brands across multiple channels. This means that legacy functional silos between marketing and sales can stand in the way of delivering the experience today’s customer demands. How can enterprises plan for effective lead handover and recycling between marketing and sales to ensure a seamless go to market approach and cohesive customer journey?

In our digital go-to-market roadmap, we have identified six key steps to achieving marketing and sales integration. We’ve previously discussed lifting role and goal clarity  to deliver relevance and value to customers, building new marketing and sales capability to drive lead generation in a digital operating environment, and developing cross-functional planning processes to enhance cohesion across the buyer’s journey.

Today we explore Step 4 – designing robust lead handover and recycling processes to support responsive and effective sales follow-up of marketing-qualified leads.

Source: Blackdot's Digital Go-To-Market Roadmap

Designing lead handover and recycling processes
More buyer activity, across more channels, means an exponential increase in the ‘baton changes’ between sales and marketing - a critical ‘pinch-point’ in the success of marketing and sales integration.
To keep up with today’s buyer, an integrated handover process is critical to ensure that marketing and sales channels can be responsive enough to deliver the right content or interaction promptly and effectively when required. Ultimately this will be scaled by your technology tools, however robust process definition will lay the critical foundations which ensure that effective ways of working are hardwired and enabled.
Here are 3 practical tips to help you do this:
Step 1 – Define what a marketing-qualified lead is
In many organisations there is a legacy of poor marketing lead quality, resulting in low levels of buy-in from sales to follow up leads.
It’s possible to ensure that marketing-qualified leads receive the attention they deserve from sales by taking a collaborative approach to defining and maintaining the right level of quality for leads. Agree on the lead attributes that justify handover of leads - the necessary firmographic and demographic characteristics. Also agree on lead behaviours – the appropriate accumulation of customer activity, interest and intent – which will warrant sales involvement.
Having a clear ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ step for sales in your handover process will also ensure clear accountability for both marketing lead quality and sales follow-up.

Step 2 – Map your end-to-end lead lifecycle
It’s useful to define a lead’s ideal path through the business under a variety of different scenarios to help crystalise your handover process requirements.
Consider how to:

  • Track marketing channel and campaign sources
  • Route the lead to the appropriate salesperson in the CRM
  • Surface the online activity of a lead for the salesperson
  • Create an alert prompting sales action
  • Enable sales to ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ a lead
  • Track sales follow-up time
  • Enable sales to recycle leads back to marketing as they leave the sales funnel

With more robust process definitions in place, your business requirements will be clearer and you will see better results when it comes to scaling this process via your technology tools.
Step 3 – Set up sales to convert
Once your lead handover process is defined, there are two key objectives to keep in mind – ensuring that follow-up happens, and that it happens in a consistently effective way.
Often standing in the way of a seamless follow-up process is the fact that sales face fundamental
capacity and prioritisation challenges. It is therefore essential to put in place either dedicated resourcing, clear operating model demarcation or service level agreements which will create the capacity and accountability for lead follow-up.
What’s next?
As you introduce new and more integrated marketing and sales processes, it’s unlikely to be all smooth sailing. Enabling a continual discussion and feedback loop will play a key role in embedding new levels of cross-functional integration and collaboration. In the next post in our ‘Integrating Marketing & Sales Execution’ series, we will explore how to develop an integrated operating rhythm.

Worded by Chris Horn