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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.

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 alignment between marketing and sales.

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?

Marketing should wait before handing off a lead to sales.

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.

What’s a marketer to do?

The answer is to wait and let an engaged contact become a qualified lead on their own time. Doing so helps the buyer to arrive at a decision on their terms and provides sales with a better chance of converting that lead into a meeting.

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


Ensure your marketing team is handing off leads that are well-qualified for sales.Providing marketing-qualified leads to your sales team is just one part of the puzzle. In the context of wider sales enablement and lead nurturing programs, the marketing team should also provide the B2B sales team with the following:

    • Intent data. This can be collected through third-party tools such as Bombora. Another 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?

Work out a process for handoff and expectations between marketing and sales departments.

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, properly configured with well-considered lead scoring rules, marketing should be proactive in influencing the sales process. Otherwise, there is a 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 sales alignment and handoff is for the marketing team and SDR team to be 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.

What marketing automation processes might actually be hindering your performance?

Automation helps scale, but make sure it doesn't get in the way of driving quality engagement.

While 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.

For example, Bombora’s live chat functionality is staffed by SDRs, rather than using automated chat bots. 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?

B2B marketers know that effective sales enablement helps any salesperson to book more meetings, create more opportunities and drive more revenue.

However, building a better working relationship with sales should also consider broader sales development opportunities. Doing so helps the marketing team to develop increased trust and cooperation with coworkers in sales.