How to work with a B2B lead generation vendor to generate quality leads while ensuring marketing & sales work in sync

With little visibility into lead nurturing, sales pipeline management, conversions and customer satisfaction, management will always be frustrated with the traditional sales process. Marketing will prefer to manage the entire prospect database, email & nurturing campaigns and even CRM, but in real business situations, these responsibilities are given to the sales team. While sales is a power user of the prospect database for inside sales campaigns, the sales team typically does not have time to maintain the database current. Sales Reps for obvious reasons are focused on pursuing hot leads, ignoring not-yet-ready leads which could be nurtured through lead nurturing and scoring campaigns. This situation can get worse if a company hires a lead generation company without ensuring synchronization between the in-house marketing and sales teams.

The following grey areas need special attention when working with a B2B lead generation vendor.

1. Prospect list management

Generally lead generation companies should not need lists, but some vendors will ask companies to provide them with a list of prospects. Marketing and sales teams together need to ensure that the prospect list they provide their vendor is most accurate. In case the vendor is using their own lists, you need to thoroughly go through it to avoid targeting the wrong companies, companies with whom you are already engaged or existing accounts.

2. Inside sales and Marketing campaigns – Planning, execution, call follow up and database update

Before you start working on inside sales and marketing campaigns, it is important to train the cold calling reps. Sales team should be responsible for this process as it will give them an opportunity to develop relationships with their inside sales reps. A marketing deck, corporate presentation and few case studies should be good enough to educate the rep on your product/services. You also need to give them call script which clearly list out all the important qualifying criteria to avoid confusion during cold calling. Role play scenarios during inside sales training help greatly. Once they are trained on tele-calling, you should give them list management and reporting instructions.

Your marketing team should help the lead generation vendor in marketing campaigns management such as email and event marketing campaigns. You should give them sample messaging for email campaigns and final approval for the test campaign. Marketing teams should route all the inbound inquiries to the vendor for follow up and qualification.

Qualified or warm leads should be tracked and rechecked even if the vendor is responsible for the updates on your CRM.

3. Lead nurturing campaigns – Planning, execution and reporting

If the inside sales vendor is going to manage your lead nurturing campaigns then the marketing team needs to make sure that they route all the cold inquiries and not-yet-ready for sales leads to the vendor. Also all drop off leads from sales needs to go to the nurturing pipeline to be worked on when ready. Both the sales and marketing team should help the vendor in finalizing parameters for lead scoring and nurturing based on the target market.

4. CRM/Database update and management

Five out of 10 companies face the problem of sales not updating the CRM system. If you are hiring a lead generation company to manage and update your CRM then sales and IT together need to make sure that they give limited access permission to the vendor, like denying access to opportunities and accounts, limited permission to delete any leads, etc. Verified lists should not be uploaded into CRM without marketing team approving it. All the leads should be thoroughly tracked and after-sales follow up should be accepted or rejected by the sales team.

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