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How to Unify your Marketing and Sales Funnel

How to Unify your Marketing and Sales Funnel

sales-and-marketing-funnelHow well synchronized are your marketing and sales efforts? Whether you have just one person multi-tasking this work, or you have an entire in-house team of marketers and another cadre of sales reps, you need a unified vision of your marketing and sales funnel.   

As long as your people have disparate views of that all-important funnel, they’re working at cross-purposes. Losing great leads and wasting time on non-starters.

On the other hand, a consistent view of the marketing and sales funnel enables everyone to work together smoothly. You can create a more strategic marketing plan and execute it more effectively, generating better-qualified leads and better-timed follow-up. You’ll see more conversions.

It’s time for a meeting of the minds.

meeting-of-the-mindsGather your people together and agree on some definitions, so you’re all using the same terminology to describe leads at various points in your marketing and sales funnel.

Early-stage shoppers are easy to identify, and they’re obviously not ready for personal contact. They’re ripe for your content-based engagement and nurturing process. You could think of these leads as visitors. Good prospects.

Late-stage shoppers are pretty easy to identify, too – anyone who’s looking at pricing or has detailed questions is ready to become a customer. They need an immediate response from one of your sales experts.

It’s those folks in the middle you need to agree on – at what point do they become a “marketing qualified lead” that should be passed along from marketing to sales?

Your marketing and sales funnel holds four levels of leads.

You can sort leads by ranking them against two criteria:

  • Fit. How well do they match your target profile? The more information you can gently capture — their title or job description, decision-making role, company and the company’s scope of work – the better you can determine their fit. This is why developing personas is so important for well-focused targeting.

Geography matters, too. Your dealership has a fairly well-defined sales and service area, but that doesn’t preclude someone across the country from subscribing to your blog, etc. They could turn into a valuable evangelist for your dealership at some point, even though they aren’t a viable sales prospect.

  • Interest. How engaged are they with your products, your dealership, your content? You can follow their interest across downloads, social media interaction, blog or webinar sign-ups, website search activity, etc. You can track it all, looking at volume, frequency and what content they’re targeting. This is why your analytics are critical – and why content has to be varied and fresh.

You can readily see your four categories:


  • Great fit plus strong interest. These are your marketing qualified leads, so get ‘em while they’re hot – before a competitor can respond to them. Show your dealership is paying attention and as interested in them as they are in you.
  • Great fit, some interest. They’re yours for the nurturing, with content that establishes your authority and builds trust as well as increased interest.
  • Not an exact match, but strongly interested. Maybe they represent a heretofore untapped audience for you. Regardless, their high engagement with you makes them worth an exploratory personal follow-up, to determine whether they are in fact a potential customer.
  • Not a match, not all that interested, either. Non-prospects you can ignore.

Exactly where you draw the line within your marketing and sales funnel is entirely up to you. But when everyone’s on the same page, you’ll be more efficient and more effective at identifying and converting the best-qualified leads.