Get Better Results From Your Leads – Through the Sales Rep Lens

August 25, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Sales Rep LensToday’s post gives the sales rep a recipe to get more from their marketing leads.  Reps often hunt down new leads themselves, discounting many from marketing.  Reps use their own definition of a “good” lead.  

But it’s marketing that has the tools and data to deliver.  Marketing must be on the hook to get good quality leads to sales.

Direct support of the rep making their target is one of marketing’s key objectives.  To learn more about how world-class marketers are enabling their sales teams to hit quota now, click here.

The Problem

We look in on Rick the Rep with Apex Inc. scanning a new set of leads he just got from marketing.  Reviewing them on his laptop, Rick excludes companies from the list if:

  • His previous sales efforts have come up dry.
  • The competition is already in the door.
  • The title is below VP level.  Rick has most of his success selling to VP’s and above.
  • The company isn’t in one of the industries where Apex sells most of their products/services.

Rick used his past experience to define what a "good" lead is.  We’ve all done this.  We need to make our number.  We want to spend our time with solid leads, ignoring the junk.

What else has Rick done?  He’s tossed out several leads considering Acme as a potential supplier.  He ignored some actively looking for a solution he can deliver.  He also hurt marketing’s chances to make their bonus because one of their key success measures is the number of leads accepted by sales.

Ouch!  Painful but all too real.  Sirius Decisions research backs this up.  They found that 80% of all leads identified by sales as non-qualified end up buying within two years. Leads

Why is this happening?  Because sales reps don't trust that marketing can regulalry identify and hand-off quality leads.

The Cure

Rick, there is a way to fix this - take these three actions right now:

  • Stop “weeding out” leads.  Give responsibility for defining “good” sales leads back to marketing.  They have the tools and data.  They get paid to do this.
  • Start to understand how marketing defines a “good” lead.  Get better prepared with more information about your leads before you make contact.
  • Tell marketing that you’ll accept all the leads they send you.  Take a leap of faith they know what a good lead looks like.

Marketing has to answer the call.  They know what your leads have been doing before you get them.  The web sites they visit, webinars they attend, e-books and blogs they read.  The info available gives marketing what they need to ignore the junk and give you only good leads.

Now you’re freed to close more deals.  You’ll see an increase in “good” leads because marketing is held accountable for the number and quality of leads they deliver.  You’ll be seen as a sales leader – pointing the way to use marketing more effectively.  You will also help marketing make their “number” by accepting all their leads.

What is a “Good” Lead?

Before accepting all of Marketing’s leads, get a better picture of how they define a good lead.  Get answers to these questions:

  • How are leads first identified (through purchased lists, inquiries through your web-site, etc.)?
  • How are leads handled before you get them?  What info has marketing already given them?  Has marketing been nurturing your leads before they hand them off?  For more on lead nurturing, see this post by SBI's Vince Koehler.
  • Do your leads get a score given to them?  A score should be given to all your leads.  This score shows how closely the lead resembles your company’s ideal customer profile and what buying behaviors they have gone through.  For more on lead scoring, see this posting on HubSpot
  • Have your leads “opted-in”?  Leads that “opt-in” have given information about themselves (e-mail, phone number) to receive something in return (daily blog posts, admission to a webinar, etc.).

Now you’ve stopped filtering out any marketing supplied leads.  You have a much better picture of how leads are prepared for you.  You’ve committed to accept all of your leads.  Now what?

Your Call to Action

Is your faith in marketing leads stronger now?  Great.  Provide detailed feedback as you work your leads so marketing can get better.  Use the additional info on your leads to convert more to closed business.  Become a marketing fan within sales.

What if your faith in marketing has been weakened?  If you're still not confident in their ability to consistently deliver good leads, take the following steps:

  • Find companies that deliver world-class leads to their sales force.  Start by looking at the Eloqua, Marketo or SBI web sites under their client sections – these firms do a fine job helping many companies deliver high quality leads to sales.
  • Raise the red flag to your boss.  Tell him the gap needs to be closed.  Bring case examples from Eloqua, Marketo or our consulting firm to show what successful lead generation looks like.
  • Consider a change – If marketing isn’t willing or able to deliver for you, consider making a move to a company that can.  Again, looking at client lists from Eloqua, Marketo or SBI would be a good starting point.

I’d like to hear from you – e-mail me at patrick.seidell@salesbenchmarkindex.com  Post your comments, forward this post and keep the conversation going.

Patrick Seidell

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Topics: Lead Generation, Leads, Quotas, Sales Rep Resources

Posted by Patrick Seidell

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