Policies that put B2B marketing and sales on the same page.

Recently I saw Christopher Ryan’s post on Great B2B Marketing, “B2B Lead Management — 6 Best Practices.” As an advocate of best practices it caught my eye since it presents a valuable list well worth reviewing.

His number-one point, “Follow up every inbound inquiry within 48 hours — preferably 24 hours,” reminded me of two very contrasting client experiences I think are worth sharing.


Story #1
Back when it was still a relatively new marketing channel, a software developer ran their first email lead generation campaign. The email I was asked to write simply promoted their virtual collaboration software, which was also a relatively new concept at the time. The campaign generated more leads than could be responded to in 48 hours. So the Director of Marketing and his assistant stopped doing their jobs, took to the phones and pitched in so all the leads could be contacted quickly.

Story #2
Tasked with generating leads for a B2B technology service company, their marketing consultant asked me write an informational guide they could offer to a list of targeted companies via direct mail. The guide was to be fulfilled individually and not by a download. The direct mail letter making the offer generated an excellent response. However, the company’s sales manager took it upon himself to decide that none of the guides would be fulfilled until the companies requesting them could be “qualified.”

I’d be hard pressed to come up with two more opposite scenarios — and I look to top management for the reason. I think it’s up to them to set policies that make sure marketing and sales are on the same page. Here are two ways they can do that:

  1. Marketing success should never be based solely on the number of leads. It must ultimately include the closed deals produced by those leads.
  2. Sales people should be judged on how they follow up with leads as well as close them.

The final goal of everyone in B2B marketing and sales should be the same — making sales.

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