It seems like an age old topic, how does a Marketing Qualified Lead get to the starting point of the sales process? There is a narrow line between asking for high quality leads and properly handling leads according to their quality. In this article, we’ll breakdown how to efficiently transition your marketing qualified leads to your sales team while improving the entire handoff process in 5 simple steps.
Step 1. Listen & Prepare
You have eyes and hands and brains all over your company. They are your collaborators. Use them as the main source of information or intelligence when planning or wondering what has happened this week. They are the most reliable data source.
Team leaders should then narrow a couple of main things happening during the week or month that impact the results. Were there any vacations? A major happening in your sector? Did a competitor release an initiative that had an impact on you? Note that down and bring it, as a team leader to the handover session.
Step 2. Organize & Prioritize Your Leads
Bi-weekly or at convenience, the Sales and Marketing team leads should have this session on their team’s behalf. Not a Show and Tell but rather a strategic approach to the activities of the week using the onion structure proposed here:
The situations might change according to your sales cycle. The important structure is to define the urgency and momentum a certain channel or source of leads has to tackle them together. No more misusing your key lead scoring sources.
You can also use this template to organize your hand offs and remain organized throughout the process:
Step 3. Assign Roles & Responsibilities
Divide the session in no more than 15 minutes for each and allow your team leaders to set their own responsibilities of who does what and for whom. Right there, with everyone. Not one action can go without responsibility.
Example Marketing Team Actions:
- Marketing communicates their 30 leads ready to become MQL’s by the end of the week, according to statistics.
- They also announce 2 events that have been big in the industry. They set the goal to convert those 30 leads by Wednesday.
- As of Thursday and Friday, to start working on a specific landing page and campaign for those 2 events.
Example Sales Team Actions:
- Sales starts considering among whom to divide the 30 leads to maximize closure times.
- Sales also comes up with a Q&A fact sheet on events like the ones Marketing is getting prepared for.
- They will share it with Marketing by Friday.
Two team leaders just handed over leads and information. At the same time, they set specific goals for their teams.
The company will still have 30 new leads with sales by the end of the week but with this short session, chances are the closing rates are greater thanks to a smart lead-scoring considering also the people.
Step 4. Visualize & Share Your Workflows
For sake of a balanced workload, rotate among the team leaders the turn to make the minutes and the planning sheet after each session.
Minutes don’t have to be boring old memo’s documents. I’m all about being assertive so I propose the following structure that you can download at the end of this article.
A RACI Matrix will allow everyone know what is the role of everyone for each activity. Upfront.
A CPM structure is nothing more than a visual mapping of the steps aligned towards a route and the standard info such as when it started and how many days it takes to be completed. Plus, it allows you to see where a process can be shortened!
Finally, if you are into visuals, project management software such as Asana or Ganttify can be more dynamic and there is no need to use this part of the spreadsheet.
For many, Gantt charts are the best way to visualize when activities are running parallel and bottle-necks.
Step 5. Communicate & Track Progress
No plan works if it is not implemented. The team leaders should debrief their teams in their best practices.
A Scrum type of meeting, a dynamic weekly team gathering or a daily-goals regrouping at the end of every day, team leaders should communicate not only what MUST be done but also what the other team is doing to help them with their tasks.
Let them be all together part of the burden but also of the honey as well.
Two Situations You Probably Know…
Client A – University. They want all their leads contacted right away. Summer season is tough because of the competition for the matriculation. What happens with those potential leads who are making the decision along with their parents? The lead is the student, but the whole family is your customer…
Client B – A SaaS for call centers. Their clients have many projects running at the same time. Only one person call the shots and that needs to be done is saying yes. With different shifts, the roaster and being sleep-deprived, how much time after I completed his lead for the Marketing qualification standards can I contact the call center manager?
Transitioning Your MQLs: Putting The “Handover Session” Into Practice
In the previous examples there are obvious solutions such as better qualifying the leads, mapping the journey also for the decision influencers and even going to Account-Based Marketing.
The head of growth has to merge two very different perspectives into one single step: how to go from the Marketing Qualified Leads to the starting point of the Sales process?
The answer is individual according to every account if we want to minimize the risk of hard no’s, however, running a business means we can’t tailor things for every case.
By doing a mid-of-the-funnel process to have a “handover session” of the MQL’s to the sales team, any particular pattern or tendency can be correctly addressed.
Client A: In Summer, contact your leads right away or provide some automated solutions such as Calendly to know if they will be leaving on vacations. Don’t miss a chance to talk to them. Have them all booked and mapped by Sales before you call them to close.
Client B: There is no standard right hour to call. Thus, by mapping the lead’s availability in the lead scoring, you can schedule the touches by sales every 12, 48 or 72 hours. Every tier can be maximized and assigned the right muscle to close.
It is all about communication. Marketing needs to know what to expect once the leads are handed over – like a contingency for possible bashing and trashing on social media if the Sales reps are too pushy, or lack of material to bring that close sooner.
Sales also need to know if they are being repetitive in their pitches, which is the lead availability and willingness to have a conversation or if well they are just waiting to sign in. Cut them to the chase.
This communication can take forever. Meetings, emails, trackers or lists. Even worse, adding more details into a CRM that can be seen by everyone.
A solution that has worked just right for me has been having a “Scrum Handover”.
What Should You Expect As A Result?
As a Scrum methodology, it is deep and quick as an analysis but agile and fast to start.
As any hard transition, there will definitely be more questions and doubts at the beginning. If well implemented, people won’t keep on stepping on each other’s toes.
Marketing and Sales, as well as any other players, will know what to do from their end right away. No more formal presentation as of “what are we up to right now.”
A ninja team can easily respond to the environment but always keep the mission going forward.
If you are still looking on how to grab the bull by the horns, click here and download this quick spreadsheet to help you manage and lead your handover session.
What would you use this transition session for? Share from your expertise what changes and tweaks you would do and help us learn from you!