Ran Mullins By Ran Mullins • June 8, 2021

Leveraging Marketing Automation to Effectively Pass Qualified Leads to Sales

You've done what may have once seemed impossible. Through effective marketing strategy and skilled implementation, you've turned a stranger into a marketing qualified lead (MQL) for your B2B technology company. But now it's time for the handoff to sales, and you hold your breath. 

Is this lead ready for the sales department? Has the marketing team done enough to deliver a sales qualified lead? How does sales feel about the quality of leads they get from your department? Many marketing managers experience these unknowns at handoff, but you can eliminate the question marks by leveraging marketing automation to streamline this process.

We recently shared how B2B technology companies are building a sales enablement workflow in HubSpot to better align marketing and sales efforts and shared goals. Now, it's time to discover how to make the sales pass more effectively and what marketing automation does to help.

Create an SLA for Your B2B Technology Marketing Team

Before you leverage marketing automation, it's vital to create a service level agreement (SLA). This agreement clearly states expectations like:

  • How quickly leads are contracted after a potential customer submits a form, etc.
  • How many, how often, and when follow-up takes place
  • How you decide when MQLs are ready to become sales qualified leads

Timing is everything here. Delays caused by shifting priorities, staffing issues, technology concerns, or even a holiday can disrupt this process and keep your team from meeting the timeline laid out in the SLA. 

The more of this you can automate, the less disruptive these elements will be. The right message goes out at the right time to the right B2B technology lead regardless of what's happening in the office at that moment. With the pressures of timely communication off the team, they spend more time and mental focus on the things that you can't automate because they require greater skill, finesse, and creativity.

Your SLA may vary based on where the lead came from. For example, a lead from Twitter may need faster follow-up versus LinkedIn. Leads from a Webinar may need to be managed in real-time. Attribution tracking through your CRM will help you understand the best way to prioritize and manage automated communication.

Focus on Quality of Quantity to Generate Sales Qualified Leads

You may have a goal of generating 75 MQLs per month — but if doing so means sending lower quality leads to sales, hyper-focus on a number isn't working for you. 

To align marketing and sales, make sure your team gets regular feedback about what happens to a lead after the pass. Discuss the sales opportunities that marketing is creating and evaluate how marketing is scoring leads to improve the quality of leads that go to sales.

Automate Sales Enablement to Align Sales and Marketing

The role of marketing doesn't end when a lead reaches the sales department. Ultimately, the marketing team knows that the definition of success for marketing is when sales can make the sale and generate the revenues the company needs to thrive and grow. 

As marketing and sales align, it becomes clearer what sales needs from marketing to help close the deal. Marketing can continue to support sales through sales enablement content automatically sent to leads based on the buying patterns you're tracking through marketing analytics.

Here, similar to lead follow-up, automation eliminates the workarounds, the scrambling, the delays, and the mistakes. It replaces them with a seamless content and follow-up system that consistently increases the percentage of sales qualified leads who become B2B technology customers.

Set Customer Expectations Through Marketing Automation

Don't forget about the customer side of things. What you do in marketing and sales is selling your B2B technology in ways you may not realize. 

If leads experience a disjointed marketing and sales approach, they think your product and the customer service around it are also messy. But when they see this consistency, it gives them a preview of the professionalism and customer support they will receive once they become a customer. Consistency is best achieved through marketing automation.

Automate the Handoff

Marketing automation takes the guesswork out of when and how to hand off a lead to sales. Review your SLA and build out your automation so that it sends the lead to sales at the precise moment the lead meets your predetermined sales qualified lead criteria. This could happen in the middle of the night when a response to an automated message triggers the decision to send a lead to sales.

Is your company getting the most out of marketing automation? Are you sending a cohesive or disjointed message to leads? Streamlining the handoff through marketing automation is the best way to showcase for customers the value your B2B technology company offers. 

Download this case study to learn how a B2B technology company achieved 20X marketing ROI by implementing marketing automation. Rbookend2

New call-to-action