Every organisation wants more clients, and marketing is essential in achieving this. However, the type of marketing strategy used differs per organisation. Some want more brand awareness, in retail they are looking for direct turnover, and yet others are mainly looking for leads. The latter often occurs when a product or service is expensive or when a decision is not made overnight. The realisation of leads, in particular, is an objective that is often the subject of friction between the organisation and the marketing team or agency.
The lead bullshit factor
It is easy to generate many leads with a relatively small online marketing budget. But how qualitative are these leads? You have leads of all shapes and sizes: leads, marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads, for example. A lead alone does not necessarily mean that someone will actually become a customer. Someone who signs up for a newsletter, for example, is a very poor interpretation of a lead. Someone who actively seeks contact as a result of a campaign, is in the target group, or has decision-making powers and wants to buy your service has much more value.
A marketing team that is primarily responsible for generating leads sometimes finds itself in a discussion with, for example, the management or sales team. You probably heard the sentence: “We generated 30 leads at a cost per lead of €27”. Okay, but how many of those leads actually become customers? Can you hold the marketing team or marketing agency accountable for generating leads? Yes and no. It’s never a one man job.
“We want as many qualitative leads as possible.” A fairly clear objective that marketing professionals can get to work with just fine. After all, the marketer knows exactly which algorithm to use in Google Ads, for example, and what creatives to create, such as texts, graphics, banners and videos, or perhaps even striking and spontaneous social or guerrilla campaigns. But marketing hardly ever ensures that a lead actually converts into a customer. That’s where the sales team comes in.
It’s very easy for a marketer to say: “Here’s a bucket of leads, we did our job well’.
When marketing professionals do their job well, they deliver as many quality leads as possible to your front door at the lowest possible cost. For a sales person, it’s very easy to expect marketing to deliver all the leads for you and also convert them.
As a sales professional, you help find the right target group and once those leads arrive on your doorstep, you have to open the door yourself. If marketing indicates that a lead will be contacted within 48 hours after downloading a brochure, then you cannot expect a lead to know or expect you to call after four days. This entire process must be streamlined before a campaign goes live. That way, every colleague knows which touchpoint with the lead he or she is responsible for.
The role of sales
Sales is the process of converting a marketing-qualified lead into a sales-qualified lead, and ultimately acquiring the customer, with advice, with a professional response. And don’t forget that marketing is only one way to generate sales leads, especially with complex or expensive services, sales is often also responsible for finding and approaching customers. Marketing can support this. Giving your organisation more visibility with the right target group. Or creating trigger points to give potential leads more information about why they have come to the right place.
A user-friendly website also plays an important role in the entire decision-making process. A user who is sent to the website to download a brochure must be able to do so easily. If the user immediately comes across a difficult website, marketing can deliver as many leads as it likes, but they will not convert. If the sales team doesn’t pick up the leads quickly or well enough, they won’t convert.
You often see that marketing is organised externally and sales is organised internally. That is why it is important that both teams are well attuned to each other, and make agreements such as KPIs about the forms of lead generation (marketing and/or direct sales?), the number of leads (numbers or qualified?).
Start with mapping your lead-to-sale journey, to determine the most important steps that take place between a lead and the final sale. Every step has his own value. This is important to determine which actions are responsible for the final sale.
Dive afte figures. What is the value of a final sale to you? What percentage of your leads become an actual sale? If this is complicated start with an average value of a final sale. Then identify the conversion rate between each step. Calculate the predicted value of each step by multiplying the conversion rate by the value of the next step. Your not optimizing for a lead, but for a final sale.
Sitting at each other’s desks
How do you ensure that all teams or agencies work together to find the right leads? Here is a step-by-step plan:
1 Formulate a clear assignment for sales and marketing. What do you want to achieve and at what cost? Define clear KPIs for both teams.
2 Cooperation is key in this process. That is why it is important that both sales and marketing know each other and know how to find each other. It is also important that both know all the ins and outs of the product or service. If you have a complex product, make sure you give demos.
3 Set up the campaign completely, but do not let it go live yet. Go through the campaign with both teams from start to finish. What happens when the potential lead clicks on the ad, what happens when that same lead leaves his/her details and when does a lead go from an MQL to an SQL? Once everything is clear, the campaign can go live.
4 With which message and via which channels are the different types of leads followed up? You must not let go of a lead who is not yet ready to become a customer. Make sure that you continue to inspire them with an appropriate message. This also applies to leads that do become customers.
Start with this process and adjust it where it works for you. We also love it when you share your experience with us.