Sea of Knowledge

How to Transfer Leads from Sales to Marketing

While many teams focus on the marketing to sales and sales to customer service handoff as part of the Revenue Operations framework, most miss the handoff from sales to marketing when a deal doesn’t close. This is a huge missed opportunity. The leads that do not buy from you already went through the lead qualification and sales process with your organization. What if they’re just not ready to buy right now? They’re still a qualified opportunity that may buy in the future and your marketing team needs to nurture them to avoid losing that potential revenue.

When to Transfer Leads from Sales to Marketing

Lead are transferred to sales from marketing when they are “sales ready” or marketing qualified. So, how do we define when a lead is then qualified to go back to marketing?

Answer the following questions to determine when and how leads should be sent back to marketing for nurture campaigns.

  1. Is there future potential with this lead?
  2. How can we capture that potential?
  3. Why are they not buying now?

These three questions will provide your marketing team with a playbook to retarget and nurture the lead back to the table. 

Usually, you’ll want to send leads back to marketing once a deal is lost but there is potential for them to buy in the future. For example, if Company A determines that your product is a great fit except for one key feature, marketing can notify them when and if that feature becomes available and recapture the opportunity. But, if Company B determines your product isn’t a fit because they will never have a business need for the service you provide, they shouldn’t have been qualified to begin with and would not be a valuable use of marketing’s time.

How to Automate the Sales to Marketing Handoff

Like all automation, this handoff will need data to power it. First, you’ll need to define how you collect the data from sales to build the marketing nurture playbook.

Collect Data from Sales

The easiest way to implement this is to require a reason when a deal is marked as lost or a lead is marketing as unqualified by your sales team. This reason should be selected from a picklist so you can easily segment and nurture leads with targeted campaigns. 

Lost/Unqualified Reasons:

  • Can’t Fulfill Their Needs = they need features/services we can’t provide
  • Competitor = they’re a competitor looking for information on our offering
  • Feature Missing = product does not fulfill their needs due to several missing features
  • Not Interested | they may be a fit, but they don’t want to continue
    • Not a Fit - Never Will Be = they don’t meet our requirements for a strong customer and will never meet that profile
    • Not a Fit - Might Be in the Future = they’re not a good fit but they may be in the future
  • Not Ready = they’re a fit but the timing isn’t right
  • Not a Prospect = industry contacts, marketing inquiry, etc
  • Pricing = do not have budget for our solution

To implement this, first create a picklist on the Lead and Opportunity object in your CRM for Lost/Unqualified Reason. Add the picklist values above or create your own values. Add a validation rule or required field when a lead is marked as Lead Status = Unqualified and when an opportunity is marked as Deal Stage = Lost.

Implement Marketing Automation

Now that your marketing team has this data, strategize value-adding marketing campaigns to recapture the interest of these lost opportunities. If you’re using a marketing automation platform like HubSpot, you can easily create Workflows that enroll contacts or deals when they have a value set for Lost/Unqualified Reason. Then, you can segment your communications and send emails that overcome the specific objection shared by the sales team. Or, send communications that keep you top of mind when they’re ready to consider your product again.

Train Your Sales Team

Once this system is in place, train your sales team on how to use these new fields. More importantly, share the “why” behind this new change with your sales team. This will require an extra step from them, so it’s important that they know this is being put in place so marketing can bring qualified leads back to them. It’s not motivating to do more work just for the sake of reporting or data collection. Be sure to communicate the value so you can get buy-in to provide accurate data.

Expand Your RevOps Framework

Want to dive deeper into RevOps strategies like this one? Download our guide, How to Implement the RevOps Framework, and learn about the three key elements of a RevOps strategy and how to implement them at your organization.

Download the Guide