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3 Reasons Marketing Shouldn't Pass Leads to Sales

It's the given constant frustration in every B2B company: Marketing needs to give really good leads to sales so sales can pick up the phone, ask "Wanna buy?" to a resounding "Yes" from the buyer, Right? But the reality is Marketing delivers leads of a variety of types at an equally varied levels of quality to a Sales team that has been given the expectation of converting every single one to sale.

It just sounds like it's not going to work. And often, it doesn't. So, Marketing needs to step back and think about whether they actually should pass leads to Sales. Here are 3 reasons why they shouldn't.

1. The Leads Aren't Ready

Whitepapers are the perfect example. They are a staple in the tech industry. They allow vendors the ability to educate buyers on everything from the problem to their solution. But so many companies will take someone that registers for an educational whitepaper and have sales call them right away. Depending on the Whitepaper content, this can be a huge mistake. Leads like these simply aren't ready to be called and asked about whether they want to purchase something. In fact, they haven't indicated they want to either.

What To Do

Stop passing them, but have an upper-level management conversation first. Marketing is under pressure to deliver a certain number of leads and Sales to deliver a revenue number from those leads. The conversation needs to put all this on the table and build a strategy around the kinds of leads that are generating opportunities and revenue and those that are not. Send the opp-generating lead types to sales, but hold off on passing the whitepaper-type leads and nurture them until they are truly ready.

Which brings me to my next point: How can you tell they're ready?

2. Because Scoring Said To

This ties into my previous reason. Scoring is supposed to indicate a lead is ready, but so many companies implement scoring as an academic exercise in Marketing only and forget they need to work with sales and complete the process by asking "Is the way we're scoring working?" causing leads to be passed to sales prematurely. In essence, Marketing builds a scoring system without collaborating with Sales where leads meet a criteria set by Marketing and then are sent to Sales, whether they want them or not. And that's bad.

What To Do

Marketing needs to ask if why they think is a good lead (as indicated by the score) is what Sales thinks is a good lead. Otherwise lead scoring is just a bad idea. Collaborate on the definitions (and, therefore, the scoring values) and both sides will end up much happier.

3. Sales Doesn't Want Them

At first glance, that last line sounds a little unfair, doesn't it? Be after years of working with sales teams, I can tell you for certain, it is important for Marketing to not pass every lead to Sales. Why? Because the folks in Sales are human. Here's what I mean - As Marketing keeps passing leads to Sales that aren't ready, it will wear those reps down. They start ignoring leads from that particular advertising vendor. Or perhaps they begin to generalize that leads from companies that fit a certain demographic just won't be interested. Oh, they'll shoot off an email, but they won't put effort into it because they think you haven't either. Remember, Marketing has the ability to influence the very spirit of the sales person.

What To Do

Your Sales and Marketing organizations need to focus together on passing leads that are ready for Sales to call on. That means defining (again, together) what Sales wants to see from Marketing (based on the Sales process) and have Marketing work to meet that definition. If Sales has BDRs calling and setting appointments, the lead quality definition is probably lower than a Sales organization that has the Account Execs calling each lead themselves.

The Real Reason Why

The underlying tone of this article is to get Marketing and Sales on the same page. It's not just important, it's critical to the success of your organization. Without it, marketing is just passing what it thinks are great leads over to a team that thinks they aren't.


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