Stop me if you’ve heard this one before …
Your marketers think they’ve crushed it. They just published an ebook that produced 1,000 piping hot leads. They can’t wait to send them to sales.
Your sales reps see the leads come across, but rather than gobbling them up, they mostly just grouse about how hard it is to sift through all of the bad leads to find the good ones.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Marketers tend to perceive salespeople as egotistical, overpaid brats. Salespeople tend to perceive marketers as doing arts and crafts all day.
There has to be a better way.
At the Inside Sales Virtual Summit, Mark Roberge revealed how HubSpot has mastered the art and science of turning Web leads into sales. You can see his full presentation in the video below.
Well, you said you wanted a lot of leads
Let’s return to the example of the 1,000 golden Web leads. Why doesn’t sales jump all over those?
It’s because inbound marketing leads are a different kind of beast, Roberge says. For example, a college student in Tokyo might download your ebook. There’s nothing wrong with that. He’s probably a good kid. But he’s never going to buy anything from you. He’s just not a good fit.
If marketing sends sales 1,000 leads and they have to dig through 10 of them to find one good fit, sales is going to hate marketing. But if you can filter them down so you just pass along 100 good leads, they are going to kiss your feet and call you the greatest marketing team in the world.
Sales reps also must learn to work inbound leads more effectively. It’s rare for a CEO to download an ebook. It is far more common for the CEO to tell an intern to download an ebook. It’s the sales rep’s job to find out why the intern downloaded the ebook and use that intelligence to kick off a meaningful conversation with the CEO.
Bada bing, bada boom.
How SLAs improve alignment
Service level agreements, or SLAs, align marketing with sales by clearly defining the quantity and quality of leads that maximize sales productivity and enable sales to reach its goals.
SLAs go both ways, though. HubSpot also holds its sales reps accountable for responding to leads quickly and persistently, according to established standards.
This removes the subjectivity from the relationship between sales and marketing. You need to be precise on what a lead is, and you need to quantify your targets.
A good SLA will allow you to nail down how many leads marketing needs to generate every month to fill your reps’ pipelines.
Use content strategically
Content is the key to any good inbound marketing strategy. But content alone cannot make all of your dreams come true. You have to figure out which blog posts, ebooks and webinars actually create customers.
Sometimes, you have to ask tough questions, like:
What content is statistically proven to move people through the sales process?
Once you examine the data and figure that out, you can make better use of your most profitable content by placing it on your homepage and using it in your social media updates.
It’s really quite nice.
See how XANT accelerates sales through science.
Image credit: Perry Hall