The lines are easily blurred in marketing, leading to confusion around different terms. What exactly is lead generation and who becomes responsible for qualifying sales leads? When should your sales team become involved with the customer journey and how can they support the effort?
Lead generation blends marketing and sales. Your company identifies who your potential leads are, and qualifies those leads. You then reach out to those leads via an email or call.
Your marketing team is generally responsible for finding these qualified leads. This can be completed in a variety of ways, including SEO, website copy, blogging, social media, PPC, email, and more. The goal is to warm up these leads, preparing them for your sales team.
Once these qualified leads are identified and have been moved down the funnel, your sales team will often contact that lead to close the sale. Of course, if your product is available online, this may simply mean a lead magnet combined with an excellent email series. Often though, your sales team will reach out personally to a qualified lead to close the sale.
Sales teams don’t need to worry as much about prospecting or conversion. They’re often focused on simply delivering services or products that were promised to leads from the start. Of course, sales are also aiming for repeat business and customer loyalty.
If you think about a sales funnel, your lead generation efforts are right near the top of the funnel. This is when you’re getting potential leads interested. You’re educating them about your company, the products or services you offer, and how those products or services can benefit them.
As those leads move down the sales funnel, they’ll become more interested in your products and will often read reviews and compare similar products. This is known as the consideration stage, and it’s where your sales team will often enter the picture.
While lead generation and sales are two very different things, they work hand-in-hand to guide leads through this funnel and convert them from prospects into paying customers. The more effort you put into lead generation, the less difficult it is for your sales team to actually make the sale. That’s because your lead generation efforts will qualify customers, educate them, and overcome their objections. The more work put into lead generation, and the more information available about the lead, the less difficult it is for the sales team to make the sale.
It’s important to recognise that marketing and sales are no longer completely separate activities. Direct marketing and sales tactics have been replaced by content marketing strategies, social media, and online shopping. These days, business owners should also be customer service representatives and marketers. That’s because customers want to feel like they have a one-on-one relationship with a brand before they will buy.
Sales and marketing both must work together to nurture leads to ensure they become customers, and then sales teams must work with customer service representatives to ensure that customers remain happy and loyal.
If you need some help with your lead generation, we can help you ensure you’re targeting the right leads and the right time. Get in touch today to learn more.