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How to align sales and marketing for lead generation success

6 tips to create harmony and improve results

Cathy Schmid
Cathy Schmid
EVP Business Development/Partner

A steady flow of qualified leads is essential for a healthy sales pipeline. Unfortunately, lead generation is often one of the most contentious areas in many medtech and B2B companies. It’s challenging because the marketing and sales teams must communicate and collaborate to ensure the right sales prospects receive appropriate attention.

It’s not uncommon for the marketing and sales teams to view the situation from totally different perspectives. In worst-case scenarios, they fight like cats and dogs over metrics, ownership and other lead generation elements. Finding harmony is critical to success at lead generation.

Common reasons lead generation campaigns fail

A number of factors can derail corporate lead generation efforts, but the primary disconnects between marketing and sales teams are:

  • Lack of agreement on what constitutes a “qualified” lead
  • Poor follow-up on leads generated, resulting in wasted time and budget
  • Limited feedback loops to improve and refine lead generation campaigns
  • Differences on roles, responsibilities and overall accountability for results

Improving lead generation starts by building better relationships between the B2B or medtech marketing and sales teams. Trust, honesty and respect are vital to working well together.

Six best practices for lead generation harmony

As you’re planning your next lead generation effort, convene stakeholders from both departments and follow these six best practices to improve sales and marketing harmony. More alignment between these two teams will also translate to stronger overall lead generation results.

1. Collaborate on planning

Instead of setting up email marketing, outbound calling or other demand generation tactics in a vacuum, involve both sales and marketing teams from the beginning. A more transparent approach will increase buy-in, and show that the preferences and opinions of both sides matter. It also alleviates one of the sales team’s most frequent complaints: “We didn’t know anything about this lead generation campaign!”

Important topics to discuss include campaign objectives, timing, your target list, key messages and the roles and responsibilities for each team. Focus on open communication and documenting the processes and hand-offs that will streamline the experience for your valued sales prospects.

2. Set tangible goals

Lead generation is a measurable activity; it’s one of the reasons B2B and medtech companies readily invest budget and resources in email, outbound calling and other lead generation campaigns. But, without clear objectives, it’s easy for confusion to set in and muddle lead generation results.

At the start of your lead generation campaign, set tangible goals that include both marketing and sales. This way, both departments share ownership for the overall success of the lead generation effort. Typical marketing goals include reach rates or list viability, cost per impression and cost per lead, and overall number of leads generated; typical sales goals include conversion rates, timely follow-ups and the quantity of opportunities or dollar volumes of potential deals in the pipeline.

3. Use a lead scoring system

The definition of a qualified lead constitutes another source of friction between sales and marketing. When sales has one set of criteria—and marketing uses another—there’s no way a medtech or B2B lead generation campaign can achieve its goals.

A lead scoring system can resolve these challenges. Lead scoring creates an objective set of criteria that determine which sales prospects are ready to advance, which need further nurturing by the marketing team, and which are unqualified to buy your product or service. This discipline quickly prioritizes all the responses from lead generation campaigns and holds the right teams accountable for follow-up and conversion.

4. Create clear follow-up procedures

There’s nothing worse than losing an opportunity with a qualified prospect due to lack of attention. Yet one of marketing’s most common complaints with sales is “No one follows up our leads!”

Instead of waiting for finger-pointing and in-fighting, establish parameters before your lead generation campaign begins:

  • How will qualified leads flow from marketing to sales, or from your outsourced lead generation firm to your company?
  • How will you notify the sales team?
  • How quickly—and how often—will sales reps attempt to reach a qualified prospect?

Buttoning up these important activities goes a long way to supporting a successful lead generation campaign.

Be aware, responsiveness matters. Studies show that follow-up in the first 24 hours with a qualified lead dramatically increases your chances of a conversion. Timely lead follow-up demonstrates the value your brand places on customers and starts the business relationship off on a positive note.

5. Be transparent about feedback

Feedback loops are another way to improve collaboration and communication on lead generation campaigns. They’re especially critical to develop an environment of learning. Look for opportunities on two levels: within your marketing and sales database or CRM system, and in regular meetings.

Within your systems, make sure fields exist to indicate when follow-up activities occur, the status as a lead progresses, and the reason if a lead is unqualified. Then, ensure the sales team complete this information.

In addition, schedule periodic check-ins between sales and marketing during the campaign, using this meeting time to gather anecdotal feedback. Make sure both sides work constructively with a goal of improvement. There’s nothing more detrimental than a finger-pointing session.

6. Measure, refine and learn

Lastly, put your data to work. Medtech and B2B lead generation campaigns are infinitely measurable. Assign responsibility for tracking key metrics, sharing reports and making changes as needed. This cycle of continuous improvement will yield stronger results as you learn and evaluate your lead generation progress.

Add velocity to your lead generation with outsourced inside sales calling

Are outbound sales prospecting calls part of your lead generation efforts? Working with an outsourced inside sales team like Volkart May can increase your velocity and your reach. Consider these four essential tips for aligning marketing and sales for outbound calling success.

Then, contact us to discuss your next project. We’re happy to share our approach and provide a customized proposal.

 

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