Too often, marketing is abandoned the second a lead is kicked over to inside sales. Suddenly all the hard work on nurturing and funnels, all the time dedicated to ensuring materials look and read just so, all the angst spent wooing your hummingbird-like prospect with sugar water, bits of cake and cocaine – all FOR NAUGHT as your lead is tossed into a churning sea of flotsam helmed by a 22-year old.
It seems so counter-intuitive, so deeply wrong yet so many companies treat marketing qualified leads with the same subtlety and taste as a nerd in a bathroom with a pair of girl’s panties.
It’s time to wrest back control. Marketing-focused leaders need to envision the customer experience from end-to-end, and give someone with an interest in consistency, design and messaging some measure of control over the whole thing.
What does this mean tactically? Well, let’s set aside all the marketing activities for the time-being and assume that the campaigns and collateral and digital effects and so forth converting this rare bird into an MQL are relatively buttoned down. Instead, let’s look at the rest of the customer experience, including – but certainly not limited to – the following eight elements:
Business Development Rep (BDR) call script / email follow-ups
Marketing process to suspend MQLs out of ongoing campaign activity
Sales / solution architect call scripts / email follow ups
Reference calls process
Support scripts / emails
(Perhaps a radical simplification of the end-to-end customer experience, but a basic framework within which to apply your own specific process.)
Let me walk you through a typical situation. Imagine the scenario: marketing has had little or nothing to do with any of this except, potentially, providing the letterhead for the contract and – perhaps – any support collateral that the salespeople deem appropriate. (I say perhaps because if the SAs are developing and sending reference architectures, it’s probably safe to say marketing isn’t involved in their layout.)
Our little hummingbird, who up to this point had been coddled and adored, is now being barraged with different communication styles. Typos, bizarrely laid out documents, messaging inconsistencies, you name it. When you let individuals control the brand – they tend to individualize it. And not always to brand or corporate standards.
Take a moment to think through, or even write down, your typical customer experience. Are there any breaks in the chain that would benefit from a marketer’s expertise? While it might be unrealistic or mistaken to expect one department to have total control, it is still necessary for the company to have control. If that means, as I suggested above, assigning one person the task or title of brand steward – so be it.
You worked too hard for those leads. Don’t let them drown in trash.