Sales Responsibility Marketing Leads


You’re fighting the classic finger pointing between sales and marketing. It’s not us it’s them; I could make the number if marketing provided better leads. If the sales talent could evolve with the market; they would make the number. You’re providing client insights via targeted campaigns and funnel all the tracking data into the CRM. Do you think sales does anything with it? Of course not, they still believe everything you send them is a waste of time.


The key is lead generation alignment (Download the free guide at the end of this post). Success involves setting the ground rules between sales and marketing. What should sales be doing with the leads you provide? What should marketing be doing to better support sales? Before jumping into that, let’s start with goals.


Goals of better Lead Gen alignment:


  • Increase the lead closure rate
  • Increase the number of quality leads
  • Increase the number of new logos
  • Reduce customer churn


There are a number of areas that you could focus on in order to address the goals above. For the purpose of today’s discussion, we’ll focus on three best practice criteria.


3 Best Practice Success Criteria:


  1. The introduction of the Lead Development Rep
  2. Sales & Marketing Lead Alignment
  3. Sales Directed Demand Gen Campaigns


Lead Development Rep (LDR):


What is an LDR? The LDR engages in 1:1 multi-touch nurturing when a lead reaches a defined scoring threshold. The LDR builds rapport, determines location in the buying process and qualifies the opportunity.


Why do I need them? LDRs increase the quality of leads handed off to sales. They nurture and educate the buyer along the decision timeline. They provide insight into the buyer’s budget, authority, need and timing (BANT). For the sales team, they increase selling time and provide valuable insight. In the end, they increase closure rates.


Where do they fit in? The LDR role has been located primarily in marketing. More recently the role has been shifting over to sales. Marketing organizations are not fighting this change. The goal for them is sales paying attention to quality leads. Having someone in sales supporting marketing campaigns is a bonus.  LDRs increase the quality of leads and support a greater return on marketing investment.


Sales & Marketing Lead Alignment:

Let’s get out of the old school mentality the finger pointing is not productive.  It doesn’t solve the problem we all know exists.


How do I solve the Lead Alignment gap? You have Service Level Agreements (SLA) with agencies who serve your marketing team.  Why not have a SLA with your own sales team? Documenting an SLA between sales & marketing is a critical “minimum” expectation. Sitting down with your peer and agreeing on the team’s responsibilities is a must.  


How will I get sales to pay attention to the leads? Work with Sales to create the sales Lead Generation Playbook. The playbook includes documented guidance on the process of following-up on qualified leads. The guidance contains steps for tracking lead progress and providing feedback. The playbook includes sales aids develop by marketing to assist in the sales process. You want sales to pay attention, make it easy for them.


Sales Directed Demand Gen Campaigns:


What is a sales directed campaign? Sales (B2B) tend to be closer to the end customer than the marketing team. Typically demand gen campaigns are derived and executed by marketing. Sales directed campaigns are designed starting with sales feedback. This could be as simple as what’s hot from the sales team perspective. It could be more evidence based via sales win/loss/no decision results. The point is these campaigns start with the sales team and field evidence.


What is the benefit? You’re utilizing sales directed campaign design to pull sales into the design process. This approach is no different than building consensus within your team on big issues. Giving sales input into campaign potential analysis, segmentation, and design creates campaign ownership. Struggling with sales paying attention to marketing leads? Have sales step up to the plate with you and gain some ownership.


The last goal we defined was reduced customer churn. What does Lead Gen alignment have to do with reduced customer churn? Both you and sales worked hard to obtain existing clients. So why is it that we tend to only talk about new logos when it comes to Lead Gen? Keeping a customer is lot easier than finding a new one.


When you think about sales & marketing Lead Gen alignment, don’t forget reduced churn. Lead Gen campaigns focused on the existing customers are equally important. Maintain your value, cross-sell and up-sell opportunities are just a few reasons. During your peer discussion with sales, bring up customer churn. Collaborate on campaign development focused on the existing customer base.


We often track customer life time value, but how about increasing life time value. Sales and marketing collaborating on messaging the base provides the ability to reduce churn.


Call to Action:


  • If you don’t have a team of Lead Development Reps you need to consider building one
  • Create a Service Level Agreement with sales
  • Collaborate with sales on sales directed campaigns


It’s time to look at doing things differently with your peers in sales. Download the Sales & Marketing Lead Gen alignment tool and walk through it with sales. If you have any questions or concerns contact me at I’ll walk through the tool and spend 30 minutes answering any questions. If the sales team continues to ignore your leads, you both lose.



John Staples

Leads teams of highly qualified experts, all relentless in their pursuit of helping you make your number.

John is the global leader of SBI’s account management business unit. As such, he and his team help clients across 19 verticals drive top line growth and operational efficiency in sales and marketing.


John’s marketing, sales and product expertise span a multichannel strategic approach. He has an unyielding focus on strategic and key account development, which enables strategic alignment between all functional team members in order to reduce acquisition cost and increase lifetime value.


His broad experience in sales, marketing, product and engineering allows him to bring a unique problem solving approach to his team and clients. As he has discovered through decades of experience, clients are often distracted by the symptoms of a larger problem and overlook the root cause of it.


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