Lead Nurture is the job of marketing – not the job of sales

If you work in a sales or marketing team, you know all too well the ongoing conflict between the two. And nothing stokes the flames of that particular fire like when a new prospect enters the business.

It’s the catalyst for a showdown around lead feed.

Most companies view lead acquisition as the primary (and sometimes only) role of their marketing team. After marketers drive demand generation, they pass leads to sales, who funnel them through the sales pipeline.

But is it sales job to nurture a lead?

Surely, sales should simply focus on closing the sale?

This article explores the roles of marketing and sales in generating demand.

Demand generation is the holy grail of sales and marketing goals. So naturally you need a flow of leads to sell your service or product.

Forrester research suggests this less than 1% of B2B prospects become customers. That’s a lot of people falling through the gaps. And that’s why nurturing leads is crucial to building a successful and profitable business.

However, the challenge is that sales and marketing departments often think it’s each other’s responsibility to nurture the leads generated.

So, who is responsible for lead nurturing? Sales or Marketing…?

Let’s see why it’s sales’ job to nurture and what marketing can do to help the development sequence.

What is lead nurturing?

Of course, demand generation is crucial, but you need to be able to turn generated leads into sales if you really want to generate revenue. If, as Forrester’s research suggests, only 1% of those leads become customers, there’s still a lot of money on the table.

Lead nurturing is the process you use to turn leads into sales.

Lead nurturing is the process of nurturing prospects who are not yet ready to buy. This is done by anticipating the needs of buyers based on where they are in the buying process and helping them along the way.

It is essentially about establishing a relationship of trust with buyers, at each stage of their buying journey, by providing them with the solution to their problems.

Why should you feed?

Because companies that nurture leads generate 50% more qualified leads for sales, at 33% lower costsand have a 47% higher order value than those who do not.

But whose responsibility is it to take leads and nurture them, building on trust to turn them into paying customers?

Many companies think it’s the responsibility of the sales team once the marketing team has generated demand.

But is this thinking correct?

What do companies get lead nurturing wrong?

Imagine that…

You are in the early stages of looking for new CRM software for your business. You watch a recorded demo video to get an idea of ​​what problems it might help you solve. This is a closed demo, so you need to enter your business details, including your email address and phone number.

An hour later you get a call…it’s the CRM sales team.

Do you want to talk to them?

Surely you are interested in the implementation of this software. But the problem – as with 70% of leads generated— is that you are not ready to buy Again.

It is therefore still far too early for the sales team to get involved. In fact, on average, B2B sales outlook is already 67% across the buying journey before engaging with a member of the sales team.

In most companies, the marketing department drives demand generation and then passes the marketing-qualified (MQL) leads to the sales team. The sales team then has the responsibility of nurturing those leads. And, as we’ve discovered, the challenge with this approach is that most people aren’t ready to buy yet when they become leads.

This flawed process fuels the age-old conflict between the sales and marketing departments. Sales teams think marketers are ineffective because they pass on unqualified leads. Meanwhile, marketing feels underappreciated by the sales team, who get all the glory and commissions.

Ultimately, sales and marketing have the same goal: to generate revenue. However, their roles in pursuing this goal differ:

  • The role of the sales team is to present the offer and close the sale.
  • But successful lead nurturing is an essential role of the marketing department.

Done right, nurturing can nurture leads through the buying cycle, creating a sales-qualified (SQL) lead.

So how do you nurture leads?

The role of progressive behavioral profiling in lead nurturing

Fully 63% of prospects who inquire on your business won’t convert for at least three months.

Let’s relate this finding to the intrusive sales call scenario we discussed earlier: it reinforces the idea that the contact was too early, too rushed, and that before passing the leads to sales, marketing needs to nurture and determine when they are ready for sales, as they display sales intent.

And to determine sales readiness, you need to understand what sales intent behavior looks like and how to get your prospects to that point.

Sales intention = intention of a customer to buy a product or service. Sales intent behavior is the specific behavior that people display when making a purchase decision.

Sales intent behavior lets you know that leads are ready to be passed on to the sales team. This behavior includes…

  • Visit the contact page
  • Ask about the price
  • Request a demo/free trial
  • Multiple people from the same organization interact with your content

The best way to accurately track sales intent behavior of prospects is to use progressive behavioral profiling. It allows you to progressively collect the relevant information and deliver the good content to good time to your prospects.

It also lets you notify sales when prospects are ready to talk to them and buy.

Most trails must be maintained to achieve this state of readiness. This nurturing process often involves reverse engineering lead magnets and entry points to move marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified ones.

How to Use Marketing Automation in Lead Nurturing

The work of the marketing department is still not done once the leads are ready for sale. It needs to provide those leads with bottom-of-funnel content that educates, handles objections, and enables leads to have conversations with the sales team.

Marketing automation can be designed to deliver this content to the bottom of the funnel.

Companies that use marketing automation software to nurture leads increase the number of qualified leads by up to 451%, according to Fronetics. It’s essential to use software to nurture at scale and seamlessly move leads through the buyer’s journey.

A sales motivation series (let’s use SMS for short here) allows you to continuously nurture leads even after they’ve qualified for a sale.

A sales motivation series is an automated email sequence using targeted bottom-of-funnel content to address objections, comparisons, and pricing.

This approach is essential for companies with a long sales cycle, where buying is a big commitment. It helps support lead qualification over a long period of time while keeping leads engaged and ready to close the sale.

SMS includes targeting bottom-of-funnel activities and concerns such as…

  • Pricing
  • FAQs
  • Anti-objection
  • Case studies

This helps boost conversions while pushing leads through the buyer’s journey. Of course, the sales team is still necessary, but it’s a helping hand in addition to building the relationship and rapport.

Get the right team to nurture leads

Even though there may be conflicts between the sales and marketing teams, they have the same goal as they are both revenue-generating departments (where they should be).

It is therefore essential that sales and marketing work closely together. This ensures that the messages sent to prospects are powerful, precise and full of information that only the sales team can provide. Conversely, marketing should use their skills to boost the sales team’s chances of closing the sale. Both teams are two sides of the same coin, working together to generate revenue.

Concretely, in addition to its traditional role of “creator” and lead generation, it should play a significant role in lead nurturing. Its work doesn’t stop with post-demand generation: To drive sales, marketers must nurture leads and nurture them through the buying process, allowing leads to have conversations with the sales and revenue team.

To this end, to support sales team revenue goals, marketers must implement marketing automation through development sequences and sales motivation series.

If you need help with your marketing automation systems and sequences, contact MarketingProfs. We can help!