For most sales and marketing departments these days, lead generation is a primary task. If you want to increase sales, you need to be looking for new leads.
What is an inbound lead?
An inbound lead is a potential client who interacts with your marketing in some way or another. Maybe they click an ad on social media, conduct a search for a product or service you offer, or visit your website. The best leads interact with calls-to-action, sometimes signing up to receive a newsletter or download a whitepaper.
Most inbound leads are generated by marketing activities, which means the marketing team is the first to interact with these potential clients. The marketing team will then hand the leads over to the sales team for further follow up.
Inbound lead handoff can be tricky, and a poor process could translate to lost leads. Follow these tips to improve your outcomes.
The marketing team should never simply turn a lead over to sales. Before the handoff occurs, you need to ensure you’re qualifying your inbound leads.
Qualifying a lead allows you to identify the leads with the most potential. Inbound marketing activities can generate many leads, but not all of them are good ones. Some people may be doing research, but they’re low on the decision-making chain. Others may be uninterested in your product or service, not have the right budget, or not be ready to buy just yet.
Qualifying your leads allows you to identify the best people to follow up with right now and who might be a prospect you contact later. Having additional information about the lead can help you determine if they need to be handed off to sales.
The sales team should qualify leads a second time once the inbound lead handoff has occurred. This allows them to dig a little deeper and become familiar with the lead themselves. They can verify marketing’s information and determine the next steps.
This might seem a little redundant, but there are a few good reasons to include it in your inbound lead handoff process. The first is that sales and marketing may look for different information, and what they consider a “qualified” lead may be a little different.
Your salespeople should also do their own research to familiarize themselves with the prospect. They can use the information their research turns up to determine the best way to approach any lead.
Perhaps the most important aspect of inbound lead handoff is communication between marketing and sales. Marketing can’t simply hand over a list of prospects with contact information. Sales needs more information.
Marketing should also consult with sales about the kinds of information they’re looking for, and sales should discuss the best way to receive lead information. Good communication between the two teams will ensure better coordination.
Another important thing to consider is the timing of inbound lead handoffs. When does marketing turn over lead information? How long should sales wait before following up with prospects?
Have your teams work together to create expectations regarding timing. Marketing will be able to turn leads over in a timely manner without overwhelming sales, and sales will have a better idea of how quickly they need to act.
Above all else, you should create a process for inbound lead handoff. Once you’ve established it, you should be following it each and every time. Providing a checklist or visual for the team can help them follow the process every time leads pass between marketing and sales.
Inbound marketing has great lead generation potential. Establishing a better process for lead handoff will ensure you’re making the most of all those potential leads.