Once you get to the point where your company has a Marketing and a Sales department, it’s time to think about putting in some guidelines regarding how leads are captured, who handles the lead, and at what point in the process Marketing hands the leads over to Sales. By doing so you can ensure that prospects are consistently handled and that Sales does not waste their time on prospects that do not match your Ideal Customer Profile.
For an in-depth discussion of the sales funnel, stay tuned, link will be added here.
Marketing = Education
Education is your Marketing Department’s primary aim. By educating a prospect (or by simply putting the materials “out there”) Marketing can quickly turn a cold lead into a warm one. Remember that most prospects are simply looking for a solution to a problem – Marketing needs to prove to them that what you offer will address this issue.
Marketing is responsible for generating leads, incubating and educating them until they are ready to engage in a sales conversation, at which point the prospect is moved along the funnel to the Sales Department
Sales = Making it Happen
When a prospect is ready to become a qualified lead Marketing hands over the details to the Sales Department. By following this framework your sales team can focus solely on working prospects that are ready to begin the sales process and managing the process and customer relationship until the sale is closed. This gives your Sales Department a higher win percentage and prevents them from wasting time on prospects that may never lead to sales.
For this process to work, you need to a) have a detailed map of your sales funnel, b) have guidelines for each department as to when a prospect is moved from one side to the other, and c) a reliable way to track each prospect and document where they are in the process. With this framework in place both departments will have a clear view of their responsibilities and expectations, so they can consistently deliver results.
Many clients and prospects will prefer to have a consistent point of contact throughout their relationship with a company, so it can be beneficial to offer an account lead or manager for contact all the way through the project. However, depending on the size and composition of your company it might be better, easier, or cheaper to pass them off to customer service once the sale is completed. Look to your product, market, and sales compensation plan to determine the best route for your company.