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Marketing and sales teams are often at odds over the definition of a quality lead. According to research recently completed by The Bridge Group and Vorsight, the reason for that difference of opinion is mostly a matter of miscommunication.
Percentage of marketing supplied leads the reps** felt hit the sweet spot:
6% 12% 51% 31%

magine a big dartboard symbolizing the wide swath of potential customers a company can target. At the center — the all-important bullseye — is that company’s ideal customer profile. It’s the sweet spot that identifies the right contact person in the right market segment with legitimate potential to turn into a sales opportunity. In a perfect world, that bullseye would be overcrowded with darts. But the reality, says Trish Bertuzzi, Founder and President of inside sales consultancy The Bridge Group, is that far too many darts (in this case, sales leads produced by the marketing department) are hitting the peripheral space around the bullseye. “Quite honestly, that inaccuracy and inefficiency is the byproduct of a miscommunication between marketing and sales departments on what exactly constitutes a ‘quality lead,’” Bertuzzi says. “Marketing may think it’s hitting the bullseye—or at least getting close enough—and sales might be looking for a profile that’s altogether very different.” The Bridge Group and sales training firm Vorsight were able to attach tangible data to that inefficiency, surveying 1,150 inside sales reps for the two firms’ joint eBook. They also aligned with OpenView Venture Partners to narrow the focus and reveal just how big of a problem the marketing and sales gap can be for smaller startup and expansion stage businesses.

Less than 25% 25-49% 50-74% 75% or more

So, how can companies improve these numbers?
Bring marketing and sales departments together to create a clear, agreed upon definition of a qualified lead. Until the data improves, hold weekly feedback sessions between the two departments that focus on the conversion points that morph leads into opportunities.
Percentage of sweet spot leads that are decision makers or buying process influencers:
Less than 25%

25-49% 50-74%

“You can have 200 leads coming in every month, but if only 20 are hitting the sweet spot that you need them to, it’s not going to work. Marketing and sales teams need to learn how to work together to generate leads more efficiently.”


75% or more


Trish Bertuzzi, Founder and President, The Bridge Group
Accuracy of lead data, i.e. contact info, title, qualification information:
5% 5%

Not at all accurate Somewhat accurat Accurate Very Accurate

“ At the expansion stage, companies are figuring out their ideal customer profile and persona. It doesn’t happen overnight. But if marketing and sales aren’t collaborating to define it, the gap in perceived lead quality won’t improve.”


Brian Zimmerman, Managing Director, OpenView Venture Partners

“The companies that excel at lead generation and creating sales opportunities treat the marketing and sales assembly line more like lean manufacturing or Agile software development. The process needs to possess the flexibility to make rapid changes on a campaign-by-campaign basis for improved results.”

** Taking a narrower focus of The Bridge Group and Vorsight’s data, OpenView analyzed answers from 361 of the survey’s 1,150 respondents that fit this criteria: Inside sales reps selling into SMB or Enterprise (or both) companies, with an average deal size less than $50,000.

Steve Richard, Co-Founder and Sales Trainer, Vorsight