Remember the days when marketers could gather as many leads as possible and hand them off to sales without a backwards glance? Unfortunately, expectations are higher than that now. In an era where more and more marketing content is being released by the second, consumers are beginning to suffer from information overload — meaning that marketers have to work harder to meet their growing expectations.

For buyers, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Product information and critical research materials are openly accessible, making it easier for buyers to educate themselves without having to contact sales. But for marketing and sales teams, this makes things more difficult. How can marketers reach out to buyers when they don’t know who is interested in their product? How do sales reps work deals from that first touch point to close when they’re often unaware that a touch has occured?  

While this “information overload” has made our jobs harder, it’s also forced us to get better at what we do. Sales reps have had to start thinking more like marketers, and marketers are realizing the need to be more in sync with their sales teams. Unlike in the past, marketers don’t get to walk away once leads have been delivered, because the modern-day sales and marketing process is now about collaboration.

But how do you get your teams aligned, and how will this impact your pipeline? This is a question that I will be addressing alongside Jay Gaines, VP and CMO at SiriusDecisions, in an upcoming webcast, Grow Sales Pipeline With the Right Leads at the Right Time. However, for those who don’t want to wait for the live webcast, I’ll give you a hint: it’s all about lead quality.

How Your Leads Affect Marketing-Sales Alignment

Many marketing and sales teams don’t get along, and while these tensions may often seem inevitable, they certainly don’t have to be. More often than not, the disagreements between marketing and sales boil down to one thing: the quality of leads getting passed from marketing to sales.

Your marketing team works hard to procure each batch of leads that gets passed along to sales. But your sales reps are often unsatisfied with lead quality, and resent the marketers who send over cold or lukewarm leads. This can cause a downward spiral in which your marketing team feels underappreciated, and your sales team becomes more and more frustrated. And when this starts happening, no one wins.

Improve Lead Quality One Step at a Time

If you start taking steps to patch up the tensions between your marketing and sales teams, you’ll not only see improved team morale, but also a positive impact on your pipeline. Start by getting both of your teams together and coming up with a unified definition for a qualified lead. Give your sales team the chance to let marketing know what they would like to see in a lead (after all, they’re the ones who understand which leads are more likely to buy), and let your marketing team work on the logistics from there.

Once marketing knows what your ideal prospect profile looks like, they can use a tool like marketing automation to set up lead scoring and grading rules, which will automatically and objectively qualify leads based on the specifications you set. A lead score will ensure that leads are showing enough interest in your company, while a lead grade will determine how well they match your ideal profile. Together, these two factors will indicate how qualified a lead is — and your sales team will be much happier knowing that the leads they’re getting from marketing are being subjected to standards that they help set up.

Lastly, have your system automate lead assignment so that only the most qualified leads are getting assigned to sales for follow-up. The remaining leads can be left to marketing so that they can be placed on lead nurturing tracks, which will nurture them to sales-readiness without any work from sales.

Want to learn more about how delivering the right leads at the right time can improve alignment between your sales and marketing teams? Be sure to register for the full webcast, featuring myself and Jay Gaines, VP and CMO at SiriusDecisions.