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Defining A Lead: One Question, Many Answers.

What exactly is a qualified lead?

It’s a simple question, yet often one of the largest miscommunication gaps between Sales & Marketing departments within a company.

Marketers might be surprised that their definition, the one used to craft their 2014 plan & budgets, might be very different than the one described by Sales and the Executive teams.

In good nature, you may assume that a prospect that fills out a form, requesting time from one of your reps, is a qualified lead. In reality, that prospect might be on a platform you don’t support, is not the actual decision maker, or doesn’t have the budget to entertain your product or service.

Make Time With The Sales Team

There is a sort of dark romanticism when it comes to Digital Advertising – Sales & Marketing types at their core don’t get along.  This old stigma needs to change.

Today’s Marketing department is now held more accountable to bottom line revenue, a large paradigm shift from the simpler days of impressions and reach. Whether admitted or not, you will come to appreciate that hotshot sales rep that consistently exceeds their quota. More revenue equates to larger budgets – it’s that simple.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and visit the pits. Actively seek out a qualitative pulse on the historic lead quality.  You’re going to need tough skin. It’s not easy to hear your baby is ugly while enduring the consistent ringing of gongs and high fives; but you will become a better Marketer for it.

You will learn:

  • How quickly leads are followed up
  • Common sales talk tracks describing your company
  • Characteristics of leads sales prefers
  • Areas needing Marketing support (collateral, company overview, product/service features & benefits)

Sit With The Leaders

Schedule time with the VP of Sales & Directors to establish cross-department definitions of what a qualified lead entails.

This definition should be very specific and cover aspects such as:

  • Interest level
  • Decision making power (Title)
  • Budget
  • Industry
  • Size (Annual Revenue, # of clients)
  • Pain Points
  • Systems (CRM, Marketing Automation, CMS)

Once a definition is universally agreed upon, place it in a document that can be easily referenced, and distribute across all the members of both the Sales & Marketing teams.

These characteristics should be incorporated in all aspects of your campaigns: from the copy, form fields, lead scoring system, to supporting collateral.

Final Takeaway

It’s never safe to assume. You don’t want to be in a situation when you drive a large influx of new leads, anxiously awaiting that shiny promotion, only to miss end of year revenue goals. Work closely with your sales team and your efforts will be much more impactful.

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