I was privy to an interesting conversation between heads of Sales and Marketing at a Health IT company. Both had several years of experience and were good at what they did.
They could not agree on the definition of LEAD.
The main reason for the debate was that Sales and Marketing expectations were completely misaligned. Marketing was very successful in generating traffic and even interest by having visitors fill out forms for getting content. The head of marketing was furious that sales was not following up aggressively to convert these to sales.
Let me back up slightly.
Several months ago, the company embarked on an ambitious content marketing plan. They researched the market, talked to their clients and made a list of content that was desirable. Well written, produced, and presented content was created. A Content calendar was meticulously put in place. They even collaborated with Sales to produce this content.
Content was distributed via appropriate social channels and DSP was used for re-targeting.
Within no time, traffic increased, 'leads' started pouring in.
"Leads" were coming in. But sales were not. Why?
No one bothered to set expectations at executive level and between sales and marketing. Content marketing is a process of building trust. It is a journey, not a Transaction.
Leads generated via content marketing are generally considered MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead). They must be nurtured. According to ZMOT, it needs an average of 10 touchpoints before they may become interested in your product / service. At that time, they become SQL (Sales Qualified Lead).
Handing over a MQL to a sales person is dangerous: It -
- Creates false expectations
- Wastes sales person's time
- Leads feel threatened, quickly lose trust and any future hope of selling anything to them.
Part of the reason has to do with initial expectations set for Marketing department and how their success is measured.
Here is the biggest Content Marketing Misconception - once you launch it, once people read it, they're actually going to buy from you!!!