Ever feel like sales is wasting your marketing team’s time?
You pour so much time and effort (and money!) into hosting events, sending emails, erecting landing pages and parading around on social media, only for sales to ignore your hard-won leads!
Doesn’t it just make you want to FLIP THE TABLE?
Sure, sales isn’t following up on your leads. That’s frustrating, but there’s probably a reason behind it. It might not be a good reason, or a reason that’s under your control, but it’s there nevertheless. And if you can discover the why, then you can discover the fix.
Here are some of the most likely reasons sales is ignoring your MQLs:
Sales has their own leads to follow up
Sales is a fast-paced, high-pressure environment, and the average sales person would rather prioritize leads that are further down the funnel than those they need to nurture from scratch. As the saying goes, “a bird in the hand is worth MQLs in the bush.”
But wait, isn’t sales supposed to rely on your leads for their call list?
Usually! But if your sales reps are performing the functions of both Account Manager and Sales Development Representative at the same time, then they’re going to have their own crop of leads to harvest. Your MQLs are just going to be backup leads in case their real (“real”) funnel dries up.
Sales doesn’t know they have new leads
You don’t know what happens when you lob a lead over the cubicle wall. You don’t see which sales rep catches it or what they’re doing with it.
Sometimes, they don’t even know there’s anything there.
When leads are missed, there’s usually a problem with your turnover process. For example, the process could’ve recently been changed, and people are still doing it the old way. Maybe you or one of your team has set up a marketing campaign, and the leads aren’t being assigned properly. It could even be that the CRM is being mismanaged and nobody’s picked up on it yet.
Whatever the case, you need to track down the gap in your workflow and plug it as soon as possible.
They’re too busy to follow up on leads
This might seem like a great problem on the surface (business must be booming, right?), but could actually be a symptom of a huge staffing problem.
If your company doesn’t have enough trained and productive sales people, then even great MQLs are just going to just going to sit there until they lose interest, and you’ll have lost thousands of dollars in opportunities.
It takes the average sales person an average of 3 months to be competent at selling your product, and even longer for them to be consistently good. If your company’s sales team finds itself short-handed, expect leads to languish in the funnel for a good long while–even if they hire a new rep right away.
The MQLs don’t match sales’ priorities
Do you want to know what happens when sales is told to promote Product A but you keep sending them leads for Product B?
That’s right! They ignore your leads in order to sell Product A.
This usually happens when sales and marketing don’t talk to each other. Marketing comes up with a fancy new campaign for something, but sales prioritizes growth in a different direction. The result is wasted effort on marketing’s side, and stunted growth on the sales side (since their prospecting isn’t being supported by marketing’s leads).
Sales is sick of low quality leads
The truth hurts.
Sales is ignoring your leads because your leads aren’t panning out. You’ve lost their trust, and you’re going to have a heck of a time convincing them to take your MQLs seriously.
This might happen because you’re entering a new market, or because the marketing person in charge of strategy is new/doesn’t know what they’re doing.
How do I fix this???
It’s easy for marketing to point at sales and yell, “get your house in order!” But really, this is a problem that you need to work out together. Here are some approaches that may help:
A stronger sales/marketing partnership. You can solve most of the problems I mentioned above just by talking to the sales team. Open lines of communication and have regular alignment meetings. Marketing is meant to serve sales, so make sure you’re both walking in the same direction.
Meet with sales on a regular basis to assess the quality of the leads and further refine your criteria for what makes an ideal MQL.
Process automation. If inbound leads are getting ignored, then set up an automated alert for leads that have been sitting too long. Set up your CRM or marketing automation system to notify the sales manager if a lead has not been contacted in X days (depends on your sales cycle).
Set up/refine your lead scoring. If sales is having trouble keeping up with the flow of leads, then set up a lead scoring system so that they can prioritize the best ones. Work with sales to determine the different criteria and their weight, so that the scores are logical and a good indicator of their potential value.
Don’t just raise your fists to the sky and curse your sales team. Figure out what their challenges are and be the first to come up with a solution. Not only will this endear you to the sales team and improve your working relationship, but it will also prove marketing’s value to the rest of the organization.