In the B2B Funnel, Is There a Clean Sales Handoff?

In the last 10 years, the role of a marketer has drastically changed. Marketing is no longer just about filling the top of the funnel. It’s about supporting the buying process from contact to close and ultimately working with Sales to drive revenue. This paradigm shift between Sales and Marketing is driven by buyer behavior and has left many organizations playing catch up. Contact with a sales rep occurs much later in the buying process, and according to DemandGen Report, 77% of buyers do not follow a traditional buying path. Leads might be passed to Sales based on an action they took indicating they were “sales-ready” yet still be in the awareness phase of their buying cycles. This begs the question, is there such a thing as a clean handoff to Sales or a clean return to Marketing?

The key is that buyers don’t care which side is communicating with them, they care about what’s in it for them as they work toward solving business problems. Marketing automation helps marketers add value to buyer relationships even after those prospects have begun to interact with salespeople.

Take a look at 3 ways marketing automation can be used to help salespeople after the “handoff”:

  1. Post Handoff Scoring: Once a lead’s score reaches the qualification threshold for transition to sales, that doesn’t mean that their activity with your website and content ceases. In fact, it could even accelerate as they get involved in the complex details necessary to validate that your solution will actually serve their specific situation. With visibility into just which content your qualified leads are accessing, marketers can provide salespeople with additional content and collateral that matches buyer activity to help keep the momentum toward purchase moving along.
  2. Continuous Nurturing: By creating a post-handoff lead nurturing program jointly with your sales team, marketers can continue to provide late-stage “touches” that help to prove the value sales reps bring to the conversation. Because marketers know which content leads have viewed to date, they can continue to build the relationship on behalf of salespeople. The integration with CRM will help salespeople choose when to interact as well as provide them with fodder for relevant follow-up conversations.
  3. Growth in Interest: Anonymous Web Visitor ID can help marketers identify website visits from additional contacts at the qualified lead’s company. With B2B buyers involving more influencers and stakeholders, sharing this insight with sales reps can help them gauge the true level of buying interest and spot opportunities to extend conversations and offer additional information that may help the buying committee take next steps.

The above are only three suggestions for how marketing automation can help companies establish a seamless end-to-end buying process, facilitated by sharing the insights to prospect behavior that sales reps can act upon to expedite the purchase decision. Marketing automation software generates the data marketers need to provide new levels of support to sales. The challenge is in developing the processes for sharing the data in ways that help salespeople have better conversations and more relevant interactions that serve buyers’ needs.