About 73% of business sales leads directly transferred by marketing to sales are not yet qualified, and only half of the remaining 27% eventually end up being sales-ready. This massive inefficiency is, right now, both a cause and an effect of the great divide between sales and marketing when it comes to lead management.

But things don’t (or shouldn’t) have to be this way. Effective lead management needs a tight alignment between marketing and sales, and closing the gap between the two is certainly not impossible. While marketing and sales are two different functions, these aren’t totally unrelated activities, and you should focus on these common grounds as starting points to have the two working in tandem.

Here’s a five-step approach at solving this issue which you can apply regardless of whether you’re making use of in-house marketing or outsourcing with a lead generation company together with your sales team:

1. Set common criteria for qualified leads. The very first thing to accomplish in aligning marketing with sales (and vice versa) is to make sure both departments are on the same page when it comes to defining qualified leads. The criteria you use for identifying, scoring, and qualifying leads should be the same throughout your organization.

2. Exchange information and feedback. Facilitating a freer flow of information and data on leads is the next item on the alignment to-do list. Once your in-house team or lead generation and appointment setting services provider transfers a lead to sales, key prospect information should be handed over as well. The same applies to sales personnel engaging with prospects where.

3. Align engagement with buying cycle. Leads at various stages in the buying cycle have different informational and interactional needs. You’ll want to have your lead management approach aligned with this process, and this means seamlessly integrating marketing and sales together to provide more meaningful engagements with leads as they proceed with their buying journey.

4. Use strategic goals ass guideposts. Marketing and sales typically have widely-varying orientations in the timeframe they operate in. Marketers tend to adopt a more longer-term view while sales personnel focus more on the near-term. Strategic goals are ideal references in order to reconcile this major difference and is what you should be relating to in coming up with your lead management approach.

5. Tie everything with a CRM platform. Once you have accomplished the previous four steps, it’s time to consider technologies to help you synchronize marketing and sales in lead management. A good CRM platform is the minimum requirement if you really want to achieve  seamless marketing-sales integration. This should be accessible to users from both departments (or made available for other lead management participants such as your partner lead generation and appointment setting services company).

Time for you to end the age-old feud between sales and marketing. Start bridging the gap today and see better lead management results.