Sales Ops and Sales Enablement, how to bring them together
Hi Joe, My Sales Ops team has been growing rapidly over the past year or so. With that growth, we’ve also added a Sales Enablement team. But...READ MORE
Sales and I are at a real disconnect. They keep rejecting my MQLs, and I’m not sure why. The leads I’m passing over are all showing interest in our brand—downloading our campaign assets, visiting our pricing page—but Sales doesn’t seem to think they’re valid. If that engagement isn’t valid, I’m not sure what is.
How can we get to the bottom of this? How can I make Sales understand that my MQLs are valid leads?
Max, I get that this is frustrating. My Marketing team spent months in a similar dynamic with Sales. We had what I considered sensible criteria for an MQL: active interactions with our campaigns, job titles and industries that line up with our target buyers.
Many of those leads would get rejected, which took me by surprise. Those leads seemed like golden opportunities for Sales to close deals; we drum up interest, they bring it over the finish line.
Turns out, after talking with Sales, they had quite different expectations of what “qualified” means; ready to sign. Here’s when we figured out the problem: between us, we had two different definitions of a qualified lead, and no one talking to each other to establish common ground.
That joint conversation is crucial. You both need to agree on definitions; what makes a lead null, ready to nurture, qualified, and ready for Sales.
Figure out your processes, too; at what stage you’ll hand leads over to Sales, and how long Sales should take to give you feedback.
Open dialogue is the name of the game. Sales’ expectations might have risen without you knowing it. Encourage people in both teams to explain their rationale for passing over, accepting, or rejecting leads. What’s the criteria? Why is or isn’t this lead valid? What’s missing?
Continuous feedback makes for better collaboration. It’s easy to forget this when you’re not communicating, but Marketing and Sales are part of the same growth engine. You bring in leads for Sales to close deals—when the business brings in revenue, it’s a shared win for both of you.
All the more reason to meet in the middle. Sales typically wants leads that are BANT qualified—the right budget for your pricing, decision-making authority, relevant needs, and the timeline to make a purchase in the near future. It’s not always viable for Marketing to tick all four boxes, so talk with Sales about how to make each other’s lives easier.
How can you optimize your campaigns to reliably gather that information? Which, of those factors, are the “must haves” and “nice-to-haves”? When can Sales continue the conversation? These are all points to establish to bridge the gaps.
For extra assurance: check out your reports. Look at where leads are progressing, getting stuck, and dropping out of the funnel. Those patterns of behavior are good guidance for where to switch up your criteria for qualifying and passing over leads.
Ultimately, you want to have a formal conversation between Sales and Marketing at least once a month. The idea isn’t to change your lifecycle every time—that’ll throw your reports and processes into disarray—but to solve any problems with leads together and make sure you’re both on the same page. After all, you’re both on Team Growth.
You’ve got this,
Hi Jo, I recently started a career in marketing automation, and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. It feels like I’m expected to know so many different things...READ MORE