World Cup soccer is a marketing goldmine. Just ask McDonald's.
So what lessons can we apply from this major sporting event to B2B marketing and sales? Officials at marketing software provider CallidusCloud say record-breaking viewership confirms that quality performance can deliver high returns. And this is a lesson that can be applied to sales and marketing.
Giles House, chief marketing officer at CallidusCloud, said marketers should try to balance the needs of sales when they pass on leads.
House shared five steps every marketer should take to keep the sales team supplied with quality leads.
Pre-Screen for High Quality Leads
Pre-screening through a dedicated lead qualification team offers a range of benefits, House said. Marketing teams can gauge legitimacy, which ultimately, he said, saves the sales team time and resources.
- Create a positive first impression with your prospect
- Gather deeper insight that isn’t in the scope of automated data analysis (such as learning if other competitors have been approached)
- Reduce the amount of sales hours spent on unfruitful leads
"Another benefit of this step is that sales teams can receive alerts on their mobile device when their lead prospects are on the website or when they are responding to campaigns," House said. "By receiving real-time updates on leads, sales teams can see the potential in their lead and they can send out their own targeted responses, all connected through marketing automation software, but without the complexity of learning all the features."
Nurture, Score Leads
With nurturing, you are attentive to a buyer’s needs, offer value by sharing how working together can benefit both parties and actively communicate on an continuous basis while tracking for results.
Enter lead scoring. Marketing has the opportunity to rank leads based on all the information they’ve been gathering.
"Simply put, marketing doesn’t receive a larger budget if sales isn’t closing their leads," House said. "Marketing teams needs sales reps to close leads, and they need to enable them to do so. It is in everybody’s interest to ensure that marketing and sales are working together."
Create a Service Level Agreement
Put marketing and sales teams in a collaborative exercise to develop a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which, House said, guarantees accountability, productivity and goal attainment.
"Oftentimes, rivalry between marketing and sales is a result of unaligned strategies and goals," House said. "The SLA clearly outlines goals lead criteria, and target markets, while also taking into account a number of other factors, such as the number of leads marketing needs to deliver per week and the time frame for sales teams to follow up after a handoff."
Allow feedback from both teams after laying out the SLA. You can refine the agreement and ensure that the lead generation process is running effectively.
Accountability, in the past, was on the shoulders of marketing teams. These days, however, companies are recognizing the need for sales to also be accountable, House said.
"When both teams are working together, joint meetings and ongoing visibility around activities can ensure that sales isn’t placing leads on the back burner for too long," he added.
SLAs lay out the follow-up requirements for sales reps, who can then qualify a lead as dead or alive. For example, the SLA can state that sales reps are required to call a prospect three times and email twice before a lead can be categorized as dead.
"Keeping both teams accountable to each other is a type of due diligence along the lead to money path," House said.
Use Reporting, Analytics Tools
House said marketers should tracking leads from the moment they’re picked up by sales to the point when they become closed deals.
"Too often, leads can sit gathering dust, and are in need of some nurturing," he said. "If that’s the case, reporting provides a channel for marketing to flag leads in distress, and by this point, they should have the processes in place to get that lead back to a healthy stage or determine if it isn’t worth pursuing."
Analytics helps streamline the process by gathering information on every step that has been completed, House said, then compiles into a succinct format that is easy to track.
"Strong reporting and communication between sales and marketing teams along the way means," House said, "leads aren’t overlooked or forgotten, and instead, always on the radar."
Soccer image by Celso Pupo (Shutterstock).