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Jun 16, 2009

New Chart: Managing the B2B Marketing-to-Sales Process

SUMMARY: Which best practices are marketers NOT using to effectively manage their marketing-to-sales process? The one that stands out here is the ability to hand leads back to marketing when they have proven not to be sales worthy.

These are usually qualified prospects that simply arenít ready to purchase. And not having process to handle this is a missed opportunity by allowing these future sales to fall through this gaping crack in the pipeline.

How Organizations Manage the Pipeline from Lead to Sale

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Click here to see larger, printable version of this chart

Closely aligning marketing and sales is essential to creating a productive new business pipeline. As this chart demonstrates, many marketing and sales organizations are collaborating at the shallow end of the pool " by mutually engaging in best practices like defining what a sales-ready lead is " but few are diving deeper to make the pipeline flow in both directions.

This two-way flow requires feedback from the sales organization about leads that are not ready for conversion. This feedback results in highly effective practices like the closed-loop tracking of leads from source to conversion. A pipeline flowing in both directions can also enable a process for sales to hand leads back to marketing for re-engagement and continued nurturing; creating opportunities for the sales force to pursue again in the future when timing is optimal.

Lead scoring has also become a very important factor in the effectiveness of a marketing-to-sales process. 44% of organizations today have a system for rating leads, often in simple descriptive terms, such as "qualified" or "warm". But as rating systems evolve, the characteristics used to determine a leadís "score" rapidly increase. Many scoring systems have become overly complex, often discouraging both marketing and sales from using them diligently.

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