The definition of a lead has changed drastically over the last 20 years. “In B2B today, the word “lead” is used exclusively to signify a person who’s responded to a marketing or sales tactic.”
There was a time when a lead was defined by the BANT methodology. “BANT is a sales qualification methodology that lets salespeople determine whether a prospect is a good fit based on their budget, internal influence/ability to buy, need for the product, and purchase timeline.”
These are two sets of criteria that are obviously different. In order to clearly define KPI’s and marketing campaign objectives, you must first determine what your company considers to be a lead. Are you talking about a content download? Or are you looking for an appointment that has been set with a qualified decision maker? In most cases, what is now considered a lead, is actually just an opportunity.
This lack of clarity has led to one of the biggest issues in B2B organization today, the lack of alignment between sales and marketing. Marketing will claim that their leads are not being closed or followed up on properly. Whereas sales will claim the leads they’re receiving are not truly qualified.
The solution: Define what a lead means to your organization.
Sales and marketing should work together to determine the parameters and qualifiers that are most important to closing deals for your company. These will be different for every company. In addition, each stage that a buyer will go through should be defined as well. This will help to more clearly determine when a lead should be passed along from marketing to sales. Anything that doesn’t meet these criteria should be placed into a nurturing workflow until the time comes that they become a qualified lead. Doing so will increase conversion rates for your sales team and ease tension between the two departments.