Why Does Marketing Resist Being Held More Accountable For the Quality of Their Leads?

Lisa Fiondella

September 05, 2015

Football and Business Fantasies

Ahhh, September. Welcome the glorious season of fall, football, and fun.

Deflate-gate aside, fans everywhere are eagerly awaiting another year of action from their favorite college and pro teams. Whether in front of the big screen or in the stands, we all like to cheer on a winner.

But what makes a winning team? In football, coaches lead, quarterbacks run the offense, and wide receivers, safeties, defensive ends, and the rest fill specific roles that help the team succeed.

Sounds a lot like business, right? Maybe.

Profits Dream Team

In the fantasy-football world of business, my dream team is an integrated Sales and Marketing unit, working together under one unifying leader. Unfortunately, reality rarely sees these two functions combined into one, well-oiled machine. Just as I discussed last time how Sales resists Marketing’s requests to consistently capture better lead disposition data, the reverse holds true. Marketing often opposes calls for greater accountability on lead quality.

Like any offense, Marketing’s role is to move the ball down the field. In their case, they utilize lead scoring and nurturing programs to ”warm” leads enough to hand off to Sales. That journey from prospect to lead (lukewarm, warm or hot) is the domain of Marketing. Using a variety of channels, they draw prospects to the company website, call center, physical location, or other touchpoint. There, prospect and lead activity is monitored (videos viewed, papers downloaded, etc.) and contact data is captured. Leads may even go through a more in-depth qualification process to determine readiness for and receptivity toward your products, services, or solutions.

So far, so good. But exactly why does friction occur?

Control. Once a prospect is “ripe,” it is handed off to Sales. In businesses where Marketing and Sales act as separate functions, each may feel they have lost control of, and therefore responsibility for, outcomes. It’s here, in this gap, that Marketing resists being held 100% accountable for lead quality. They don’t hire, train, coach, or evaluate Sales staff performance. And, they don’t maintain responsibility or authority once the lead is handed off. The result? Reluctance to being held responsible for sales conversion and close rates.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Often, Marketing isn’t able to ensure that part of Sales’ performance includes the care and feeding of the CRM system and the consistent capture of lead disposition data. Neither can they tell Sales to add steps to the sales process, or require them to input all variables regardless of whether Sales feels they are germane to the process.

In football, different players fill different roles. But, they all play for one head coach and their ability to win is dependent upon one another. Part of the solution to drive more closed sales in a B2B organization is to integrate Marketing and Sales into one team. While everyone still executes specific roles, there is an exponential benefit to the cross-pollination which takes place when each sees their role from the other’s perspective.

I view this structure as a win-win, and what’s not to cheer about that?