Sales leads and the marketing disconnect is a fancy way of saying that sales and marketing just aren’t communicating. Leads come in, they don’t close, sales reps blame marketing, marketing blames sales reps, and meanwhile, no one is developing the leads. So, what can we do about it? And how can we close the gap and reconnect sales and marketing? As always if you have any questions please schedule a free 30-minute consultation and I’ll do my best to help in any way I can.


What we’re going to cover:

  • MQL’s don’t close
  • Marketing’s responsibility
  • Who are you selling to?
  • Developing Leads



MQL’s don’t close



“When you hear 98% of MQL’s don’t close, you have to ask yourself, what the heck is going on? Why is it that 98% of the leads that are being funneled down to sales aren’t closing?”


“Over half of the salespeople, at least in the US today, won’t make quota this year. Is that because half the salespeople in the world stink? I think more accurately, it’s probably close to 20% that need help or needs to get out of the business, while the rest of them are stuck fighting windmills.

They spend their time on admin stuff, on crazy stuff required up the food chain for whatever reason, and they’re not getting the proper training and support, they’re not taught how to develop and drive business. And when you lay business opportunities in their laps, leads, they’re not getting closed.”


Root Cause

“If MQL’s don’t close and sales reps aren’t getting to quota we’ve got to discover what the root cause is to this. I don’t think there’s a simple answer to it, but I think there’s a couple of things you can focus in on and do better if you change a couple of things.”


Marketing’s responsibility


Scoring is off

“In other words, something is going on when you are scoring your leads and passing them along.”

So what happens?

“It’s the same old story: I give you a lead, you don’t close it, your conclusion is the leads suck.Then that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, every time you get a lead where does it go? The bottom of the priority pile because you have to do a bunch of stuff that wastes time, that’s why you’re not hitting quota. You’ve got real customers that you have to deal with that might want to buy some additional product and service from you, and real prospects that are true opportunities that want to close. So, the little marketing lead sits at the bottom of your pile.”

“See where I’m going with that? How do you think that’s going to go?”


Who gets the leads?

“This is where sales fall down. Do they just distribute them equally? Who am I giving that lead to and what’s the handoff like?”


How much communication?

“For example,  if I’m giving an inbound lead to a field rep that’s probably not good. How am I handing that off?  What kind of checkmarks do I need to have to make sure that’s being followed up on in a timely manner, that the messaging is on par? How much communication is going on between both marketing and sales?”


Who are you selling to?


Ideal buyer vs Buyer Persona

“When you talk to marketing the term is the ideal buyer or buyer persona whereas the sales rep calls it’s the ideal prospect. But, are we on the same page with that? Does the persona with marketing make sense with sales? Are we in agreement of what the ideal buyer looks like?”


The science of the Ideal prospect 

“Marketing is basing a lot of this on the science of who comes to my website, who downloads my stuff, where are they from, and feedback from sales. But you can’t always trust that, right?

What if you get a sales rep that’s talking to the wrong person all the time? So, you need to talk to a lot of different people in the sales department and the sales leadership to get a real good feel for who the ideal buyer persona, the ideal prospect is, and develop a good outline of what they look like, what works, what doesn’t work, what do they respond to, what don’t they respond to.”


More than one

“If you’re just working off of one buyer persona and you’re messaging off of one when you have three, you’ve got a problem on your hands.”


Communicate often?

“The world changes at a rapid pace. So, if you’re not communicating often and making sure that your buyer personas are updated on an ongoing basis, you’re losing. Marketing is creating tons of data on who’s coming to the website, while sales are in the field dealing with these people all the time. Both of you should get together on a regular basis and talk about this all the time, and make those adjustments, and adjust the messaging.”


The goal of communication

“If you get something from marketing and you say this isn’t even close to who I talked to, you’ve got a problem. It means one of you is off, so you need to get on the same page with that. Understand who you’re selling to and what kind of messaging works. So, when you get a lead, it’s marketing qualified lead, it’s somebody that fits that persona and you know how to have the conversation.”


Developing Leads


No sales development reps

“When you get a marketing qualified lead that needs to be developed, most companies hand it straight to the sales rep and there’s no development whatsoever. But in reality, they’re the last person you want to hand that too because, in the stack ranking of all the things that they need to do every day, they’re not putting following up on some lead they got from marketing that they’re never going to close at the top.”


Straight to the field

When you take a marketing qualified lead and you throw it to a rep, that’s the equivalent of taking a young rookie player and dropping them into the major leagues and expecting them to perform. That lead is not going to perform because the sales reps aren’t going to do anything with it. You need somebody dedicated, their job, they’re being gauged against how well they develop those opportunities.


Sales reps suck at following up

“Sales are still integral in the discussion, but if you have somebody that is dedicated to taking that lead and turning it into something a sales rep can close? Now you have something there.”


Dedicated sales development

“The men and women in the field are designed to drive business at a high level, they have a lot more on their plate than following up the very beginning of a lead. There is somebody in between, a development rep, whose job it is to develop that lead and prepare it, at some point, for meeting with those field reps. That’s how you succeed in making MQL’s much more valuable.

You tighten up the scoring, make sure you’re talking to the right people, you’re messaging is proper on both the website for the marketing side of it and when your reps are talking to them in the field and you have somebody who’s dedicated to developing those leads.”


Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.


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