Bad Leads or Bad Lead Follow-up

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I don’t know about you, but I hear all the time how Marketing doesn’t produce good quality leads. I’ve even heard that Sales only follows up on about 15% of the leads that Marketing provides. Does that sound about right?

OK, so our image to the left shows our old friends Sales and Marketing going at it again over this whole over worked argument about poor quality leads. Sales say that Marketing doesn’t produce “qualified” leads and Marketing says that it isn’t their job to “qualify” them. Their job is to generate enough interest in whatever it is that they are attempting to sell, for someone to contact them. Often times, these are what Sales refers to as “Cold Leads” or tire kickers, rather than a real genuine interested buyer.

Granted, most of the leads that come in don’t include a check and purchase order for the product. They may not even be a decision maker, but there must have been something that caught the attention of someone, because a lead was generated. Now, it may have been a low level individual doing some preliminary research for a project that may or may not happen, but there is a possibility that it might happen.

My experience, with a lot of different organizations, is that there isn’t a coordinated effort between Sales and Marketing on how the whole lead program should be handled. Often times, Sales isn’t included in the collaboration process regarding who the Marketing campaign is targeting, or why, or what they are attempting to accomplish by running the campaign. Then, when leads do start to filter in, unless there is an in-house sales support team, designated to qualify those leads before turning them over to the outside sales force, the leads are simply thrown over the fence for the sales people to work their magic.

Marketing gloriously acclaims that they have successfully generated X number of leads. While Sales exclaims that they weren’t worth the paper they were entered on.

OK, we all know how this argument goes, so let’s step back for a moment and examine the role of the outside sales rep, who is given an “un-qualified” lead. If the organization doesn’t have a game plan in place in which to handle these leads, then they will probably wind up in the trash with this response from the sales person: “I called them and they weren’t interested” or better yet, “I called them and they didn’t remember filling out a request”.

I believe this is where the “death of a lead” happens, because sales people aren’t trained on how to properly handle and qualify those leads and probably aren’t even provided with any background on what the marketing campaign was about, so they can adequately qualify them. So, a lead, is a lead, is a lead, what happens to that lead, once it is turned over to the sales rep, will determine the value of it.

If Sales and Marketing have collaborated together, have created a game plan and have done an adequate job of training their sales people on how to handle those leads, then I believe that the quality of those leads will increase in value. At least that’s the way I see it, what say you?

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