Sales to Marketing: ‘Stop Sending Me Leads’

This Session at Oracle's Modern Marketing World Offers Tips on Improved Sales-Marketing Alignment

April 25, 2017

This post was contributed by Vivek Venugopal, Enterprise Account Executive at LinkedIn.

The traditional and accepted digital marketing model has been for marketing to generate as many leads as possible and then hand them over to the salespeople.

This approach typically results in salespeople complaining about the quality of the leads, and the most effectives salespeople getting what we’ll call Glengarry leads. (“Coffee is for closers!”)

Marketing has evolved, and now the most sophisticated digital marketers have started to generate marketing qualified leads, or MQLs. Ideally, the evolution of marketing means that the department is generating more Glengarry leads, resulting in happier salespeople.

Except, let’s be honest, things could be better.

During our session at Oracle Marketing Cloud’s Modern Marketing Experience, taking place this week in Las Vegas, Dave Ewart, Head of Digital Marketing, Oracle, and I will be discussing exactly how things could be better. Our session, “Sales Doesn’t Want MQLs! Reinvent Your MQLs to Deliver Conversations and Revenue,” takes place, Wednesday, April 26, at 5:45 p.m. in Breakers G and H.

In this “Sales Doesn’t Want MQLs” session, we’ll explore how salespeople have been inundated with leads, leads and more leads. This is actually a situation that makes sense. Salespeople have long complained that they didn’t have enough leads, and so marketing people delivered and said, here are a bunch of leads.

But marketing’s response all too often hasn’t solve the root of the problem, and the result has been that salespeople are constantly sending cold emails or making cold connection requests on social networks to a list of people that have been handed to them. A good salesperson will spend time researching the individual before reaching out, so that the email actually makes sense and has a higher chance of being responded to — but the majority will send a form email. That is the obvious outcome of the volume game.

What actually helps is if the leads that salespeople are reaching out to know something about the company or the product before a salesperson first reaches out. If they do, then they are more likely to want to respond to the email or accept the connection request. That in turn gives the salesperson a higher likelihood of building a relationship, advising their clients, and bringing in more revenue.

So does this mean marketing should generate less leads? Absolutely not — what it means is that it is much more useful to the sales team if marketing is able to educate prospects before handing the leads over.

The only way this can realistically work is if marketing teams are incentivized and rewarded based not just on the number of leads or MQLs they are generating, but also on how many connections or conversations salespeople are able to generate – i.e. the quality of the leads.

This way, as marketing educates and converts leads, sales teams are able to make better connections faster and those leads will go through the sales funnel faster resulting in higher revenue.

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