Laura Ramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

If you have never been confronted by a sales person over lead quality, you can stop reading this blog post now:

The primary source of tension between marketing and sales is
this: Marketing wants to know what sales does with all the leads they
generate. In response to the question, sales says, “What leads? Those
leads were awful; send us better leads.”
Sound familiar?

The basic problem is that marketing and sales don’t agree on what
constitutes a lead. The deeper issue is that many marketers are still
learning what it takes to develop truly qualified demand and pass the
right information to sales in a way that helps sales to progress an
opportunity quickly and consistently.

Resolving this situation takes a lot of work, but starts with
getting marketing and sales to see that their mutual success increases
when their activities – and feedback loops – align around common goals.
It also requires understanding that the overall firm wins
competitively, grows revenue, and builds market share more efficiently
by applying lower-cost marketing resources to the front-end of this
process and deeper customer insight to the backend hand-off between
marketing and sales. While technology alone rarely fixes this, firms
don’t get to top performance without marketing automation to help
segment and target customers – and to focus sales on topics that
resonate with buyers and create dialogue.

When marketing delivers a new batch of leads, sales wants to know quickly which have the most potential. In my research,
I show how top marketers build practices that score leads numerically,
route top-scoring leads to sales, and – more often – use visual tools
to engage with sales. This is where many marketing automation vendors
are heading and Eloqua has taken a major step in this direction with its announcement of Prospect Profiler today.

Sales-centric Dashboard Helps Track Digital Activity
Sales-centric Dashboard Helps Track Digital Activity

short, this tool gives sales a graphical, one-stop interface that
tracks a prospect’s digital footprints and summarizes buyer activity
across Web content, online registration form (for various events),
email, and online search touchpoints. If marketing says, “we think this
is a hot lead,” Prospect Profiler shows visually why that is the case.

More importantly (although Eloqua doesn’t mention it in its press
release), this tool helps extend marketing’s impact on the sales
organization. Campaign and drip nurturing reports are useful, but
giving sales a tool that helps individual reps know how involved one
prospect is compared to another is a sure way of cementing marketing’s
value for enabling smarter sales conversations.

Collaboration with and the sharing of content among salespeople are
key themes I will explore next month in my blog posts and upcoming
research on the Lead Management Automation market. Let me know what you
think of Eloqua’s announcement and share your thoughts on which
features you think are essential when investing in automation for B2B

[Cross-posted from B2B Marketing POSTs by Laura Ramos.]