Marketing produces more and more leads and passes them on to Sales. Despite this, sales reps cannot close enough business to make their quota. Companies don’t meet their forecast.
The answer? Stop producing large quantities of poorly qualified leads for the Sales force. Instead, put your energy into nurturing a few, well-qualified buyers that Sales people can convert into customers.
Too many leads. Too few opportunities.
Too often Marketing generates large numbers of leads without giving enough thought to whether:
- they are qualified
- how much nurturing they need
- or what the sales force does with them.
The metrics of most marketing groups work against it being any different. Companies measure marketing on the number of leads it generates and its cost per lead. Further, no one gives marketing the data they need to measure the ultimate results of the leads they produce for Sales.
Meanwhile we have the sales force, a group who by nature and by compensation focuses on near term opportunities. It too often finds the leads from Marketing to be poorly qualified and therefore useless. And further, their companies fail to hold sales accountable for the good leads that they receive.
An alternative: Marketing produces well-qualified buyers; sales pursues real opportunities.
What if, instead of handing the Sales force a large number of poorly qualified leads, marketing produced fewer leads of high-quality? It might look like the chart below from Dan McDades wonderful little book The Truth about Leads.
The buyers in this scenario are handed over to sales only when they are well-nurtured and ready to talk to a sales rep. Because marketing has been nurturing these buyers, it can give sales a full profile of the lead: the touch points, contact history, and company profile. It can provide an overview of the players, the budget, the problem the company faces, and its competition.
The sales reps have a big incentive to pursue these leads. They represent real, potential, near-term business. And the reps know the sales manager expects them to pursue the leads and will be asking about them.
And finally, if it turns out that despite the sales person’s best efforts, the potential buyer isn’t ready to become a customer, sales can turn the buyer back to marketing for further nurturing.