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Five Key Questions to Improve Your Marketing to Sales Handoff

June 2nd, 2021

In a recent webinar, ON24, NetLine and Bombora discussed the trends behind improving the marketing-to-sales handoff, with a strong focus on the alignment between sales and marketing.

The webinar is now available to view on-demand. From the discussion, here are a few questions that we feel B2B marketers should answer for themselves as they look to improve their marketing-to-sales handoff.

To find out more about how you can improve your marketing-to-sales handoff, watch our on-demand webinar. [WATCH]

When should the marketing team hand a lead off to sales?

Worker looking at a laptop.

Both B2B marketers and sales professionals want the sales cycle to be as fast as it can be. A quick buying decision avoids stalls and delivers revenue sooner in the financial year.

But qualifying a lead too quickly can lead to a smaller share of marketing leads converting to sales opportunities, decreasing what should be a positive alignment between your sales and marketing departments.

What’s a marketer to do?

The answer is more simple than you might think. You must wait and let an engaged contact become a qualified lead on their own time. This avoids putting overt pressure on, or even irritating, a potential buyer, who will eventually arrive at a decision on their terms and provides sales with a better chance of converting that lead into a meeting. This restores the alignment between sales and marketing, for the ultimate betterment of your business.

What exactly is your marketing team providing to the sales team?

Group of people looking at laptop

Providing marketing-qualified leads to your sales team is just one part of the big puzzle that is capturing and keeping the interest of potential buyers. In the context of wider sales enablement and lead nurturing programs, your marketing team should also be providing the B2B sales team with the following:

    • Intent data. This can be collected through third-party tools such as Bombora. Another viable avenue is to measure any interaction you have with your buyers, such as questions during a webinar or on a lead capture form.
    • Engagement data. Seeing what content a lead is engaging with helps provide sales reps with insights into what’s important to that person. Armed with this knowledge, a sales rep can craft a more personalized outreach. Tools such as ON24’s Prospect Engagement Profile can surface these touchpoints easily.
    • Regular opportunities to feedback on how marketing can improving the lead handoff. Each sales rep should have the opportunity to share insights into what steps can improve the marketing-to-sales handoff and the lead management process as a whole.

What is your SDR team structure and process?

Man smiling at laptop.

Increasing marketing’s contribution to revenue requires the marketing department to do more than just provide marketing leads and run demand generation campaigns.

Even with the best marketing automation technology that is properly configured with well-considered lead-scoring rules, marketing should be proactive in influencing the sales process. This is the root of a highly functional, super efficient marketing-to-sales handoff process. Otherwise, there is a great risk that few marketing-qualified leads become sales-qualified leads, and even fewer enter an opportunity or deal stage or convert into a customer.

One solution to improving your business’s alignment between sales and marketing and bolstering lead handoff is for your marketing team and SDR team to become one and the same. A hybrid team can help improve the lead qualification process, provide marketing with details on what makes for a good sales qualified lead, and ultimately drive a higher share of marketing’s leads into the sales funnel. Without a doubt, a hybrid-based model for many company departments is the way of the future and is sure to secure a more loyal customer base for the long term.

What marketing automation processes might actually be hindering your performance?

Female looking at tablet

Technology makes the world go around, now more than ever. The most pressing example of technology in a commercial setting is, of course, various automated processes.

While marketing-related automation can help scale the impact of your B2B marketing, there may be occasions where it reduces the buyer experience and negatively impacts the sales cycle. Rather than securing the positive alignment between sales and marketing, it destabilises it.

For example, Bombora’s live chat functionality is staffed by SDRs, rather than using automated chat bots, which are impersonal and often inefficient. This helps to improve the buyer experience and establish a genuine human connection with your engaged leads.

Do you offer sales training or coaching to better explain how marketing delivers leads?

Person holding phone and looking off.

Any B2B marketer worth their salt will know that effective sales enablement helps any salesperson to book more meetings, creating more customer-focused opportunities and driving more revenue.

However, building a better working relationship with sales should also consider broader sales development opportunities. This is where a well-rounded sales training or coaching program comes into play, which is something highly recommended across different commercial industries.

Delivering such a program, thoroughly covering how the marketing department delivers valuable leads, helps the marketing team to develop increased trust and cooperation with coworkers in sales.