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How to get the appointment

Marketing vs. sales

Another important dilemma many pool and spa companies face in relation to marketing and lead generation is determining what exactly can be considered a qualified lead. This dilemma often leads to a tug of war between a company’s sales teams and marketing teams.

The marketing team, charged with generating demand for a company’s products, creates campaigns and marketing programs to drive as many inbound phone calls, in-store visits and web forms as possible to the company, in order to keep the pipeline of prospects full. It is in the marketing team’s interest to think all of the responses it generates through these programs are qualified. They also put great faith in the sales team to take all those leads and turn them into long-term customers.

The sales team often has a much different viewpoint. In their eyes, very few leads are actually qualified. In fact, salespeople often consider any prospect who does not buy an unqualified lead. This leads to the conflict. Marketing considers all leads to be qualified, while sales believes only certain leads (namely, those they close) should be considered qualified.

The owner of the business must clip the rope in this tug of war. He or she needs to deliver a standard for lead qualification to the company.

Defining lead qualification

The first and most important objective is to create a list of qualified lead criteria. It is critical to firmly establish these standards so everyone within the organization understands what they are—and that they must stick to them. Only then can the marketing vs. sales tug of war be truly put to rest.

Owners who set these strong standards provide a solid baseline that should be used to judge the effectiveness of marketing programs and employee performance. With qualification standards, the question is no longer, ‘Is the marketing team generating enough leads?’ Instead, it becomes, ‘Is the marketing team generating enough qualified leads as defined by company standards?’ The same holds true for the company’s sales team. Complaints about poorly qualified leads will no longer stand up.

Measuring every lead against the company-defined criteria and measuring performance against that same set of standards makes it much easier for owners to judge results, pinpoint areas for improvement and remove the grey areas that so often pervade sales management. In short, strong, constant appointment setting and qualification helps pool and spa companies make better decisions and improve overall performance.

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