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How to Decide When It’s Time for Marketing to Hand Over to Sales

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In the business world, marketing and sales play two key roles; attracting new customers and developing existing ones—all in a bid to increase revenue. 

Primarily, marketing teams generate leads and hand them off to the sales team so that the leads can be converted into customers. 

However, there are certain criteria a lead must meet to be considered sales-ready. Ensuring your leads are ready to buy before handing them over to the sales team is essential to avoid wasting quality time. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss how sales and marketing responsibilities differ, and how your marketing team can determine a sales-ready lead.

Key Distinctions Between Sales and Marketing Responsibilities

An accurate understanding of the definition of sales and marketing is necessary to make a distinction between their responsibilities. 

What Is Sales?

Sales refer to the activities that drive a lead to become a customer. Before going to the sales team, all leads must be declared sales qualified. 

A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is a prospective customer who has progressed through the sales pipeline to a point where the sales team can begin working on converting them to active customers. 

The conversion process usually involves communication with the lead through emails, phone calls or in person. 

During the sales cycle, prospects are asked relevant questions by a sales rep to be able to tailor content that meets their needs. Sales reps also respond to objections, plan meetings, demonstrations and follow-ups to get a “yes” from the prospect. 

Sales professionals also take up the responsibilities of upselling and cross-selling the company’s product or services to existing customers. 

What Is Marketing? 

Marketing includes strategies that generate leads and prepare them for the sales team. Leads at this stage are called marketing-qualified leads (MQL). 

An MQL, simply put, is someone who has shown interest in your company’s services or products based on marketing efforts. 

Marketers assist their companies in reaching new customers, converting them into high-quality leads, and driving demand for their products or services. They also communicate with customers to inform them of the most recent products and features to promote the business and serve as guides.

Main Distinctions Between Sales and Marketing Responsibilities

Sales and marketing play important roles in the business, but they do so differently. 

The ultimate goal for sales is to generate revenue. Sales professionals engage with prospects through sales activities—making cold calls, following up via email, sending proposals, and so on—to achieve or go beyond their set goals.

The goal of marketing, however, is to provide the best leads possible to sales, encourage people to take the next step in the customer’s lifecycle, and retain existing customers. In contrast to sales, this is rarely done in direct contact with leads and customers.

Essentially, sales teams are responsible for moving individual prospects through the sales pipeline daily, whereas marketers are responsible for campaign planning and execution, as well as the creation of content and marketing assets. 

To track regular sales activities, the sales team employs various software and technology, such as Pipedrive Campaigns to send customizable emails. 

Marketing tools include social media, SEO, email marketing automation, online advertising, and other similar services.

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A CRM like Pipedrive can be beneficial to both the marketing and sales teams as it aids in sharing prospects’ information between teams, as well as integration with other software to make marketing and sales easier. 

If you want to know more about how Pipedrive can help your sales and marketing team to achieve better results, you can ask Motii to assist you. Motii is a Pipedrive Elite partner in the APAC region. You are guaranteed to get more when you speak with an expert like Motii on marketing automation and CRM. 

How to Decide When to Hand Over Leads to Sales 

Many businesses believe that simply responding to marketing materials qualifies a lead for the sales process. An important distinction between those who engage with your marketing messages (MQL) and sales-qualified leads is their willingness to buy. 

According to Gleanster Research, just 25% of the leads you generate are valid. Out of that number, 79% of those leads will not convert into sales. If you do the maths, this means you get only 5 customers out of 100 leads. 

If you had to push every lead to sales without determining whether they are sales qualified or not, you may end up spending time and resources without getting much yield. 

Here are two key tips to help you identify sales-ready leads:

  1. Lead Scoring

Most leads are labelled as MQLs before being classified as SQLs. A lead scoring system is a method of assigning point values to various actions an MQL performs in the sales funnel. They become an SQL after accumulating a set number of points. Then, the marketing team can hand them over to the sales team. Those with the most points on the scale are usually contacted first. 

How you determine the setpoint is dependent on your business. Generally, you must evaluate the characteristics of leads who became customers versus those who did not. Then you can weigh various attributes to determine which ones describe good leads for your company.

Consultants, for example, can award points to leads based on the following activities; 

  • Lead reads blog posts for over an hour: +10 points 
  • Lead visits your pricing page: +25 points 
  • Lead only viewed your career page: -10 points 
  • Lead requested a sales demo: +50 points 

Lead scoring and lead grading work well together to guarantee that only the most qualified leads are passed on to sales. 

  1.  BANT System

BANT stands for Budgeting, Authority, Need, and Timing. The BANT system is a popular method used to qualify SQLs. 

Let’s take a closer look at the four primary purchasing factors that make up the BANT system and influence a lead’s ranking score:

  • Budget 

This examines a lead’s capacity to buy your solution. It answers the question, “Does the lead have the budget to buy from you?” It considers their willingness to pay for your good or service as well as their financial constraints. This is relevant because a lead can reject your solution due to financial constraints.

  • Authority 

This component considers the position of the lead, with respect to whether they can make the buying decision or not. If you know this, you can give better results of where leads are in the sales funnel before handing them over to the sales team.

  • Need 

Next, determine whether your solution will benefit the lead and to what extent. In cases where your services don’t meet the specific needs of the leads, you can determine if your solutions can be customized to meet the lead’s needs. It will be a total waste of time if your sales team is handed clients that may not benefit from your services. 

  • Timing

The final component of BANT, timing, considers the urgency with which the lead needs your solution and the expected purchasing timeframe. Other commitments may hinder some leads from taking action. This will help you determine priority.

After considering all of the components in the BANT model, a company can place leads and prospects on a scale and hand the ones with the highest rankings over to the sales team. 

Amalgamate Sales and Marketing Using Software and Automation

Smarketing goals should be developed collaboratively by your teams and re-evaluated monthly to identify opportunities for improvement. This ensures that the transition of leads from Marketing to Sales is as smooth as possible.

“Smarketing” is a term that refers to the alignment of your marketing and sales team through consistent and direct communication. 

According to Forrester Research, over 75% of prospects believe the sales rep who contacts them knows nothing about their business or the problem they are trying to solve. 

In nurturing leads to become sales qualified, the marketing team puts a lot of effort into creating profiles of prospects. Salespeople lose deals because sometimes they don’t have enough information to approach prospects. This is why smarketing is essential. 

The best smarketing strategy is to use sales and marketing software like Pipedrive CRM. With this, you can collaborate with teams, have a visual pipeline to track leads, segment and sort leads as they move through the sales funnel, and a lot more. 

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Sales automation tools like Pipedrive Campaigns can also be integrated with Pipedrive to help your sales team send email content tailored to each lead based on the data updated by the marketing team. 

Generally, software and automation in smarketing guarantee a relatively MQL-SQL-customer transition. 

Final Takeaways

Customers keep your business going. Getting them, however, can be a challenging process that rests predominantly in the hands of your marketing and sales team. A good way to ensure they work together and yield good results is by using software and automation as discussed above. 

If you’d like to learn more about Pipedrive and other automation tools you can use in smarketing, you can contact Motii to help you.


Ben Fuller

Co-founder at Motii

Serial successful start-up Founder, and former C-level executive, Ben understands that data and systems are what makes everything tick.

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