Marketing, as with sales, will be a process of outputs towards a desired outcome. Where the two intersect will be determined by common understanding and common goals. Take the established AIDA (Awareness > Interest > Desire > Action) model – a marketing staple for over 100 years and the foundation of the sales funnel.
In each case, the goal is to move prospects from early awareness through interest and desire, to a commercial action. In marketing, this action would be to provide sales with red hot leads. However, the handover of leads from marketing to sales often lacks punch. This is usually when prospects are passed across too early in the process. They may have shown interest in a company or product, but is this sufficient for sales to chase up? Half-baked rather than red hot.
A more commercially effective approach is simply to think ‘what happens next?’ What happens when marketing pass leads to sales? Is it booking a sales appointment, providing quotations, preparing pitches?
For example, if providing a project quotation is the best first sales step, a prospect who has simply opened an email and visited your site would not be red hot. But if a prospect has engaged on social, registered on your site and spent time downloading product information and preparing a project mood board – this demonstrates far greater buying signals.
For every business and every sales team there will be an equivalent commercial action. This process will be different for every business, but all follow common principles. Identifying that golden ticket of buying intent should be the first discussion. Once agreed, marketing can then formulate the plan to get prospects to this goal.
Ultimately, the warmer the lead the better. While there are many sales operations out there who do well from cold calling, they will operate considerably more effectively if the prospect is expecting to hear from them or is clearly showing a buying intent.
And this takes us back to effective measurement of marketing activity. The ultimate goal is set, so the next challenge is how to get there – and how you can evaluate this at each stage. After all, red hot leads will not nurture themselves.