The Handoff: How Marketing Feeds Your Sales Team

Marketing and sales are distinct but related processes in your business.

Marketing generates new leads or prospects.

Sales converts those prospects into buyers, users, customers, or clients.

It’s important that you recognize that there’s a critical handoff between your marketing and sales team. If you can’t make this exchange cleanly and well, your sales team is going to struggle and you’re not going to grow your business as quickly.

Incidentally, this is why it’s important that you don’t completely separate your marketing department from your sales department. It becomes very easy for marketing to “point the finger” at sales when things go wrong, and vice versa.

You should have at least one person accountable for the overall function of both departments – a Director of Marketing and Sales, or a Chief Revenue Officer, something along those lines. Someone who is responsible for qualified lead generation (marketing) and lead conversion (sales.)

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

You should have a clearly defined point at which a prospective client becomes the responsibility of your sales team. Often, that point is when a prospect “raises their hand” and requests a sales consultation. Sometimes their “hand-raise” is filling out a form on your website, sometimes it is via email, sometimes by calling you on the phone. No matter what that point is in your business, you must have a clear action that signifies the handoff from marketing to sales. You can’t have ambiguity!

Your marketing team should be tracking the leads they’ve created, but your sales team should have the opportunity to mark a lead as “unqualified” if the individual doesn’t meet your criteria for a qualified lead. For example, if you generate a lead, but he/she is not in your physical area of service, or can’t afford your services, marketing probably shouldn’t get “credit” for that lead. This forces your marketing team to focus on creating leads that your sales team has a legitimate opportunity to convert into a paying client or customer.

Your marketing should do everything possible to “prep” the lead for your sales process. In my last business, the sales conversations happened over the phone but required screen-sharing so that the prospect could view a slideshow. So was important that the prospect be prepared with a computer and an internet connection. It was also important that they blocked off 60 minutes for the consultation. Depending on your model, there could be any number of important “prep items” for your marketing to complete. If you have a physical location, the customer needs to know how to get there. They need to know when you’re open and when you’re closed. If you don’t accept credit cards, they should know to bring cash. Any potential obstacles that may prevent the lead from becoming a paying client or customer should be planned for, and your marketing should do everything possible to create a smooth closing process for your sales team.

What does the marketing – sales “handoff” look like in your business? Have you clearly defined it?

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Danny Decker

I work with business owners to create real, practical marketing plans – and create systems to make sure the plan actually gets executed. I’ll help you put a strategy in place to create predictably positive cash-flow, to generate new leads consistently, to create more referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, and much more.

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