You spend a lot of time, effort, and marketing budget generating valuable leads for your business. But what do you do with your leads once you’ve got them? 

Having a plan in place ensures all that effort and money doesn’t go to waste. And making sure your marketing and sales team are aligned is the key to an effective inbound funnel. 

In fact, a misaligned marketing and sales team can cost businesses about 10% in revenue annually. How your marketing team hands off leads to sales will help you avoid losing out on crucial sales opportunities.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the roles of your marketing and sales teams throughout the buyer’s journey. We’ll also share tips on how to properly hand off marketing-generated leads to your sales team—ensuring that your leads get the attention they need and become paying customers for your business.

What Is the Inbound Marketing Process?

The Inbound marketing process is divided into four phases. These are:

1. Attract 

The attract stage comprises getting found by your target audience. To attract, you must create content that targets your ideal buyer persona and answers their questions. This could be in the form of blog posts, eBooks, webinars, or even just helpful articles.

2. Convert 

This stage is all about turning your website visitors into leads. To convert, you have to provide something valuable to your prospects to give them a reason to choose your services or purchase from you. This can be a free trial, an informative eBook or whitepaper that addresses a pain point, or an invitation to a webinar.

3. Close 

Closing focuses on turning your leads into paying customers. At this stage, your sales team is on board and already has a solid pitch outlining how to solve your leads’ problems.

4. Delight 

An often overlooked stage, delighting your target audience, is summarily about positive customer experiences and satisfaction. When you provide exceptional experiences, you turn your customers into brand advocates who will spread the good news about your company.

Just as we have the inbound marketing process, the inbound sales methodology highlights the key stages your leads pass through in the buyer’s journey. These are:

The Awareness Stage

This coincides with the attract stage of the inbound marketing process. In this stage, the goal with awareness is to educate prospects about their problem or opportunity and help them understand how your product or service can help them solve it.

You need visibility to get to prospects in this stage, especially where your target audience converges. You can do this through various marketing channels like paid ads, guest content, press mentions, SEO, and other marketing strategies that attract visitors to your website and boosts brand awareness.

The Consideration Stage

At this stage, prospects already understand what you do and how you can solve their problems. All you have to do is reinforce that with detailed information and knowledge to help them make a decision.

Marketing materials and any other relevant information at this stage will help them understand why your solution is the best for their needs. You can turn these into gated content on your website to capture their information and automate the process with your CRM—which lets you know you have a new lead.

You can then move generated leads into pre-designed email series or drip campaigns to nurture them with further education and address any objections they may have about moving ahead. 

Marketing qualified leads show interest in purchasing your products or service. If they decide that your product best fits their needs, they become sales-qualified leads and can move to the decision stage, where you can hand them over to your sales team. 

The Decision Stage

In the decision stage, your goal is to help your lead understand what sets you apart from the competition and why you’re the best choice for their needs. To do this, your sales rep needs to provide guidance and relevant information to answer any objections they may have.

These can be resources in the form of case studies, data analysis, and testimonials that will help them make informed decisions. Ensure they know what they’re getting when they choose you, be clear about pricing and what’s included, and get the sign-off to close the deal successfully.  

Tips For How to Pass Off Marketing Leads to Sales

When handing off leads to sales, the most important thing is to have a clear and concise process in place so that both marketing and sales know what to expect. Here are a few tips to make the process seamless.

1. Provide Sales with as Much Background as Possible

The sales team won’t be able to close a lead if they don’t have all the information they need. Provide your sales team with the required information and context by sharing the following:

  • How you encountered the lead
  • How they converted
  • What they know about your company, product, or service
  • The biggest pain points you have identified
  • Contact information and preferred mode of communication
  • A summary of who the lead is and what their needs are
  • Any relevant notes from previous interactions or touchpoints
  • Talking points and relevant content that will help sales engage with the lead and address their needs

You can also tap into a CRM and marketing automation tool like BenchmarkONE. It shows you the lead’s interaction with your website and content and keeps track of interactions with team members. This data gives your sales team the background information and context they need to engage a lead properly.

2. Use CRM Lead Tracking

With your CRM, you can keep tabs on where each lead is in their buyer’s journey and their interactions with your brand. You can also see which marketing campaigns they’ve responded to, so you can pass that information on to sales. To make the most of your CRM, set up lead scoring to identify the best leads and prioritize your sales efforts. 

3. Perform Sales Team Follow-Ups

Check in with the sales team regularly to see how the leads you passed on are progressing through the funnel. This feedback loop will help you fine-tune your lead generation efforts and ensure that the leads you’re passing off are sales-qualified and ready to buy. It also shows that you’re interested in helping sales achieve their goals and building trust between marketing and sales.

4. Pass on Qualified Leads

Because marketing and sales objectives are different, what makes a qualified lead to each team can be different too. To ensure the sales team is getting qualified leads they can close, it is important to understand what a sales-qualified lead means.

Communicate with the sales team and try to understand what they look out for as signs that a lead that is ready to buy. While both marketing and sales-qualified leads express interest in making a purchase, a sales-qualified lead expresses an immediate interest in making a purchase.

Beyond immediate interest, your sales team may pay attention to other indicators that show a lead is ready to proceed. These include leads,

  • Asking specific questions about your product or service
  • Showing interest in learning more about what you offer
  • Expressly stating a need or want for what you offer
  • Downloading a white paper or other resources from your website

When you know what the sales team looks out for, everyone can be on the same page, and you can be confident that sales can close when you hand off leads to their team.

5. Encourage Automated Outreach

The longer a lead sits untouched, the less likely they are to convert into a paying customer—but it can be hard for sales reps to reach out to each lead within minutes. How do you solve this? Marketing automation. Create triggers inspired by prospects’ interactions on your websites and with your resources.

These triggers automatically send predefined messages and emails to the leads based on their actions. This sets the ground for more communications when the sales rep is ready to reach out to the lead.

With the right planning and organization, you can ensure that your lead handoff process is efficient and seamless. By following our tips on providing sales with necessary background information, following up with the sales team, and taking advantage of automation tools, you’ll improve conversions and make your business more successful.