Your marketing team works hard to generate leads (and I’m not just saying that because I’m in marketing). Whether it be through web capture technology, intent data sources, content promotion, events, lead generation efforts…they put in a lot of work on the front end to fill the top of the funnel.
The last thing you want to do is let all of that work go to waste. Uncontacted leads and improper qualification do a disservice to the work put in by the marketing team. That breeds animosity and misalignment between sales and marketing, and that’s no fun.
A good way to ensure that your teams play nice? Prioritize the qualification & follow-up on marketing leads with a well-trained sales development team.
But you probably already knew that. And you probably already have that team in place. So what am I here for?
To tell you what you teach that team is important and determines whether or not you can get the most out of your marketing generated leads.
Properly qualifying these leads is the most important thing you can teach your SDR team. Depending on how the prospect found out about your company/solution dictates what kind of follow-up and qualification you should focus on.
Inbound leads are individuals who have downloaded a piece of content, attended an event, filled out a form, or indicated in some fashion that they want to be contacted by your sales team. How and where you focus your time and effort with these leads is vital, as each one requires special attention. For example, someone who downloads an old webinar recording might get less priority than a fresh “contact us” form fill.
Either way, the focus of the qualification with inbound leads should revolve around fit and timeframe. Your SDRs should ask questions like:
- Does this lead fit my company’s ICP?
- What goals or challenges do they have, and can we help?
- Do they have an active project, and can we help them complete it?
Ultimately, your SDR needs to determine if this lead is worth your sales rep’s time. Do you bother qualifying & passing it, or do you mark it as disqualified and move on? Scheduling discovery calls to unearth that information while further understanding their goals/challenges is the best next step to qualify these leads in or out.
Unlike inbound leads, web generated leads tend to sit in one location of the sales funnel – at the very top. These are leads that content syndication programs and web-capture technology pick up. The biggest difference between inbound leads and web generated leads is their familiarity with your brand – web generated leads might not know who you are, but they might be researching companies like yours to help them solve a challenge or start a project.
Education is going to be the main focus of your SDRs qualification with these leads. They need to be the delta between what this prospect can learn about your solution online, and what they can’t.
Look at these leads like outbound target accounts for your SDRs. Take an ABM strategy and instruct them to map out the account in order to find the right stakeholders. Have them leverage the information they know based on your ICP and historical data. Prioritize consulting and informing the prospect like you would in an outbound scenario.
Ultimately, your SDRs should be weaving these leads into their outbound strategy and utilizing an ABM approach to properly qualify them.
Send Information Back to the Marketers
Qualification isn’t where the value of your SDR team ends – the feedback that they provide to the marketing team really solidifies the value of your marketing leads.
Your SDR team is on the front lines, testing different qualification tactics and getting consistent feedback on the value of the content your team is creating & promoting. Communicating that information back to the marketers can give them valuable insight into what strategies are working, what needs further clarification, and what strategies aren’t generating strong leads.
That’s not to say every piece of advice your SDR team gives you is good. As a manager, you need to have a way to consistently determine whether or not the SDRs’ feedback warrants a change in your overall marketing strategy.
Having a process in place where you can capture the feedback your SDRs are getting on the front lines and distilling it for the marketing team can create a powerful feedback loop. This ensures that the leads your marketing team is generating become easier to qualify, more closely match your ICP, and move through the funnel at a faster pace.
At the end of the day, maximizing the investment your marketing team puts in is simple. A strong sales development function that properly qualifies leads based on their status & funnel position will ensure marketing efforts aren’t in vain. Additionally, setting up a feedback loop between the two teams will allow you to facilitate the improvement of your marketing team based on insight from the front lines.