Successful Prospecting Integrates Sales and Marketing

Who is responsible for prospecting? Sales or Marketing?

It is an age-old debate between these two disciplines, isn’t it? Sales claims that marketing hasn’t created enough leads to meet their goals. And, Marketing claims they have generated hundreds of leads that sales never follows up on.

And, who is right?

They both are! What I have found after working with many sales and marketing teams across many different industries, is that the issue really comes down to two easily addressed areas:

    1. The definition of a lead. Both teams must be VERY clear about what defines a lead. I like to define a lead as an opportunity where the buyer is actively shopping or open to shopping for what you have to sell. If the opportunity is more of a “possibility in the future” then they are still a prospect. Regardless of how you define a lead within your own sales process, the key is that you do so and that both sales and marketing agree and understand that definition. 2. The lack of integration between sales and marketing efforts. Defining what qualifies an opportunity as a “lead” is a great start to successful prospecting. Now you must also define the role of sales and marketing in the converting of prospects to leads. This is where many companies fall down-by either assigning this responsibility to marketing alone or assigning it fully to sales. In reality though, the most effective approach is assigning the responsibility to both and integrating the activities of each. This is not a relay race where one runner hands the baton off cleanly to the next. This is more like a baseball game, where catchers, pitchers, basemen, and outfielders all play their part in an integrated way to win the game.

So what does this mean for you?

Take a hard look at how you identify prospects and what defines a lead for your organization. NOT just from a marketing perspective, nor just from a sales perspective, but from both. Then, analyze your marketing programs for how well they integrate with sales.

An example of an integrated prospecting effort would be: Marketing generates a prospect through a web download from a promotion, Sales calls to further qualify, Marketing invites the highly qualified prospects from the sales call downs to a seminar, Sales meets each attendee at the seminar and sets an appointment for a product demo, etc.

From this example, you can see how integrating your efforts will allow you to more efficiently and effectively identify, qualify, and convert your best prospects. If your efforts aren’t well integrated now, it’s time to get busy reworking your sales and marketing plans.

Essentially, successful prospecting comes down to the powerful integration of the magic of marketing with the science of sales. And though it is not easy and does take discipline, it is well worth it.