In the course of business and acquiring new clients, nothing is perhaps more important than the transition or hand-off that takes place between the marketing and sales teams as leads are transferred into the prospect pipeline.

The end goal is always the same, whether you're working sales or marketing — to increase your organization’s revenue. Despite this simple fact, inner-office politics are notorious for creating division between departments, ultimately decreasing efficiency and potential ROI.

Improving marketing ROI, whether through implementing new workflow processes or acquiring automation software and other industry tools, is crucial for achieving successful sales rates. Passing leads into the sales pipeline through acquisition and nurturing requires marketers to have robust analytics on lead behavior. This data actually is the same information that the sales team is after. The problem comes in determining what data and marketing information is most relevant, and then translating this into the CRM and other important networks in the lead conversion process.

To get an idea of the prevailing disconnect between sales and marketing, consider the following figures:

“61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 20% of those leads will be qualified.” (Marketing Sherpa)

“Up to 70% of sales leads are not properly leveraged or are completely ignored thus wasting marketing programs dollars.” (Gartner)

Determining which leads are ready to be sales qualified requires marketers to vigilantly track user behavior (e.g., emails, cookie tracking, touch frequency). On top of tracking, communication with the sales team should be ongoing. Part of the problem is that the transition between marketing and sales can happen so abruptly. Marketers need to communicate with sales people, in order to better understand the requirements of a lead being sales ready.

Lead scoring is the latest digital marketing technique for improving ROI through increased acquisition of sales-qualified leads. Did lead x respond to this Call-to-Action? How long until the marketing team made contact with the lead? What does the lead’s web and search behavior look like? How are they aligned demographically? All of the factors that go into determining the relevancy of user behavior for sales potential are combined to give leads an overall score.

A popular way of lead scoring is the “bucket technique” (bucketing is a common framework for dealing with different data-types and organizing them into useful sets). In terms of marketing and sales practices, what this boils down to is knowing your lead. In order to adequately segment leads and determine the chances that they will be sales qualified, data on lead interest and behavior has to be consistently tracked, recorded, and communicated to the sales team.

Implementing lead scoring across marketing and sales processes not only can increase ROI, but can also help cut down on interdepartmental division. Lead scoring provides an objective measure of lead performance and suitability for placement in the sales pipeline. Instead of bickering and passing off responsibility, marketing and sales professionals can work together to increase overall revenue and benefit the entire organization.