Traditionally, this is the point where marketing sends over the "leads" to sales without further qualification or handling. And it is exactly this area where marketing must evolve. How? By taking more responsibility for providing better-qualified and intrinsically higher-value (read: sales-ready) leads. In a nutshell, companies can no longer have this type of unqualified "hand-off" from marketing to the sales team.
Marketing's Revised Role In actuality, lead generation should not be just the initial creation of interest, but the full slate of nurturing activities growing the lead into a genuine prospect. Marketing's role must include taking responsibility for moving sales-ready leads to sales, instead of simply handing over cold inquiries and then attempting to match back the revenue won from the leads initially generated to evaluate the success of marketing programs.
Of course, a key requirement for this is that sales and marketing must first work together to determine the company's definition of a sales-ready lead. Once that definition is agreed upon, it then becomes marketing's job to work toward filling the top of the sales funnel with leads meeting that definition, as opposed to simply clogging it with inquiries who in all likelihood are not yet ready or able to buy. How can marketing evolve into this new mindset, and what processes and metrics must be implemented?