What happens when your nurture marketing efforts educate your prospects, helping them solve their problems before they are ready to buy, but sales gets involved and jumps the gun? Of course, the prospects get colder, since they aren’t ready to buy yet.
This is exactly what happened a few years ago when my marketing team and me evaluated potential marketing automation solutions for our company. One vendor consistently delivered valuable content, but one of its sales reps interrupted us with a call at an inappropriate time, irritating my team. After one of us clicked on a link in the vendor’s email to finish reading an article, the sales rep called us almost immediately, trying to determine if we were ready to buy. It went from the vendor focusing on our success to focusing on the vendor’s needs and whether it would get a sale. Ultimately, we chose an alternative solution for different reasons, but the vendor’s miscue did not help its chances.
While it can be challenging for vendors to assess the buying signals solely from marketing automation data, it’s important for marketing and sales to align around how they communicate with prospects in these cases. Alignment begins with defining lead stages. The hardest definition usually centers on marketing qualified leads (MQLs) because this is usually the stage when marketing passes the leads to sales to qualify as sales accepted leads (SALs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs). Emerging companies who are trying to grow quickly particularly struggle in this area because they often have team members serving dual marketing and sales roles.
Vendors who have employees conducting both marketing and sales activities should have a lead guide to assist their lead generation efforts. The lead guide will help them maintain patience when communicating with prospects. For example, a prospect that responds to an educational email with a question or clicks on a link to get more information very likely is not looking for a vendor rep to contact them to schedule a meeting. The prospect simply wants additional information. Helping the prospect is the best approach because it keeps the focus on making the prospect successful, not the vendor.
Overall, modern marketing requires sales to be modern, too, in order for vendors to succeed in closing more deals. Vendors who create urgency by respecting their prospects, proving over time with consistent communications that they can help prospects solve their problems, will win more often than not. Modern prospects are too smart (and too busy) to schedule meetings with sales reps at inconvenient times.
Are you embracing a modern marketing approach while your sales team struggles to keep up? If so, then please contact us, and we can help modernize your sales team to support your pragmatic marketing efforts.