The lead handoff process has traditionally been conducted like a relay race, with leads passed from marketing to sales like a baton that needs to reach the finish line. However, this approach has not only caused significant finger-pointing between the two groups, it also results in a good number of leads failing to blossom into quality customer relationships.
Lead handoff should not mark the end of marketing’s involvement. Rather, it should be embraced by marketers as the beginning of a new phase, a phase that requires its own content strategy focused on supporting sales as they convert leads into customers. Here are three distinct ways marketers can help maximize lead conversion post handoff.
The Right Content
Often, the cause of low lead conversion is a lack of the contextual information and support material that should accompany lead handoff. As anyone researching the source of poor lead conversion can tell you, left to their own devices, sales reps might research the lead, search the portal for a case study or proof point to use as a reference, or they might simply wing it.
While reps have a wide variety of content at their fingertips--whitepapers, briefs, case studies, playbooks, etc.–they tend to be opportunistic learners, preferring to learn only what they need to know at the moment they need it. As a result, marketers can best support sales efficiency by giving them content in short, interactive modules that encourage actual use. It should be content that helps them quickly absorb and apply the information, rather than winging it.
These pieces should aid sales in having good selling conversations by helping them qualify prospects, stay on message, and differentiate appropriately. The combination of these short sales aids with the right content for prospects is powerful in facilitating sales conversations that move leads further down the path to becoming customers. Industry-leading organizations are pairing these tactics with guided selling technology that tracks from the marketing automation platform to the CRM which content assets are most valuable to both seller and prospect in the sales process.
Map To The Sales Process
Engaging a prospect at the earliest stages of the buying cycle is very different from the later stages. Sellers need content that is customized accordingly. Moreover, it is important that marketing leaders work hand in hand with their sales peers and the training department to identify those areas in the sales process that are ripe for improvement. In doing so, assess which of these areas of improvement marketing can help bolster through prospect-oriented collateral and/or sales knowledge aids.
While these materials can include anything from quick training bursts to sales messaging, question examples, and customer testimonials, all should be focused on helping facilitate a productive sales conversation.
Mapping content to the sales process and customer journey doesn’t stop there. Make sure that sellers can--and will--access the content. According to IDC, salespeople waste an average of seven hours a week hunting for the right content. More sophisticated sales enablement tools, like guided selling, can save sellers some serious time by automatically recommending relevant content in real time. And they can integrate with systems sales teams already use.
Measurement is a powerful tool in maximizing lead conversion. This means benchmarking different phases of the well and where the process has room for improvement. In order to refine and improve over time, marketers need a way to determine which support content is moving the needle toward a sale and which is not.
A handful of enablement tools and apps have emerged that now give marketers visibility into usage and value. Connecting such tools to the CRM system can provide rich insight, like determining which pieces of content are most used in closed deals, or correlating the usefulness of different content types with buying stages.
It is also important to gather sales feedback. Provide a mechanism for sales reps to rate the content they found most helpful. This data, combined with other information, can help drive more intelligent investment in sales support efforts. For example, if a case study is strongly tied to high-dollar wins for the quarter, but sales reps rate it only three out of five stars, that may signal that it’s a high-value asset that could benefit from an update.
The lead conversion process is critical to business success. In fact, according to Demand Metric, 66% of companies reporting complete alignment between sales and marketing achieved their revenue goals, compared with 41% who reported no alignment. So it’s hard to imagine that a rough lead handoff would result in meeting revenue goals. Yet that’s what happens in many organizations.
Instead, get sellers the best content--both customer-facing and sales aids--that is relevant to their needs throughout the buying cycle. Then constantly measure it for a virtuous cycle of improvement. This will lead to better sales conversations and more sales conversions.