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August 17, 2022

How B2B Marketers Can Close the Lead Generation Gap With Sales

By Sarah Cielinski, Senior Market Analyst, and Chantel Hall, Marketing Content Specialist

A recent Ironpaper survey of of 180 B2B decision makers found that while marketing and sales teams are generally in alignment on successful strategies, marketers were significantly more confident that their business generated enough qualified leads to fill the sales pipeline and reach growth goals.

62.3% of marketers indicated their business generated enough qualified leads to fill the sales pipeline and reach growth goals compared to 42% of sales and business development decision-makers.

There are several possible reasons for this discrepancy between marketing and sales. 

  1. laptop-3193422_1920

    Sales and marketing could be working with unclear customer profiles. If buyer personas or ideal customer profiles are not specific enough, a lead may look qualified only for a salesperson to disqualify them after further conversations.

  2. Customer profiles are developed without the input of both teams. If a marketing team has developed an ideal customer profile without the input of the sales team, their profile will lack the depth and accuracy salespeople can provide. In this case, marketing may think a lead is qualified when salespeople know they’re not likely to convert.

  3. A lack of communication on deal outcomes may make it difficult to determine and improve lead quality. Marketing may lack insight into what happens after they hand leads off to sales, and deals may fail, preventing sales from reaching growth goals. This may result in ineffective lead generation investments that create unnecessary overhead costs.

When these issues are present, lead generation efforts carried out by marketing will continue to generate unqualified leads, and the discrepancy between sales and marketing on perceived lead quality will persist. 

Improve the quality and quantity of leads generated

Conduct an internal company evaluation

While B2B marketers can use insights from our survey to inform qualified lead generation strategies, an internal evaluation can help identify marketing and sales discrepancies within a company, uncover ways to optimize lead generation strategies, and increase profit margins. 

This evaluation should include gathering information on and assessing:

  • Current profiles or personas marketers use when developing campaigns
  • How and when those personas were developed, and whether they need to be reevaluated or updated
  • Current conversion rates from website visitor to lead and lead to customer 
  • What conversation channels, if any, exist between sales and marketing about lead quality and deal outcomes
  • How marketing and sales feel lead generation efforts are working
  • What issues marketing and sales teams see with lead generation efforts

This evaluation should ideally utilize data from shared customer relationship management (CRM) software. If your marketing and sales teams do not use a CRM, an internal evaluation will be more manual and time-consuming.

Create a feedback cadence between marketing and sales 

Communication between marketing and sales can help determine the most successful strategies for a business. It can also better inform investment decisions and help fill the sales pipeline with leads most likely to become customers. However, it’s essential that this communication includes open and honest feedback between both teams.

Sales and marketing teams each have unique touchpoints with leads and customers. Open communication that includes feedback on lead quality and handling ensures that everyone benefits from each team’s knowledge. 

Regular communication and feedback ultimately help create transparency throughout the entire pipeline and facilitate meaningful collaboration between sales and marketing. A regular cadence for feedback can mean a weekly meeting, Slack channels, a centralized feedback collection tool, and more.

After an internal evaluation and an established communication cadence between sales and marketing, teams can tackle buyer understanding to help optimize investments and generate leads that are most likely to become customers.

Find out how Ironpaper can help you improve and scale your lead generation efforts today.

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