Death of A Sales Lead, or: What’s the Problem with Marketing’s Sales Leads ?

My firm specialises in working with Sales and Marketing teams in medium and large B2B organisations. We show them how to get the most from their sales and marketing functions to really hit their sales targets.
In our line of work we hear all the time how sales reps complain that Marketing doesn’t produce high enough quality sales leads.

“In our line of work we hear all the time how sales reps complain that Marketing doesn’t produce high enough quality sales leads.”

And that seems to be corroborated by IDC’s statistics that Sales only follows up on 15% of the leads that Marketing provides. That’s 85% of leads being wasted!

Sales says that Marketing doesn’t produce “qualified” leads and Marketing says that it isn’t their job to “qualify” them. That their job is only to generate enough general interest in their business offerings for prospective customers to contact Sales. Sales people often call these unqualified leads “cold leads” and consider the contacts ‘tire kickers’, rather than real, genuinely interested buyers.
That is the crux right there: Marketing may think that just a name and a phone number are a sales lead, whereas sales reps ideally want a ready purchase order and probably the accompanying payment for the product or service they are selling. Ideally, or so Marketing people may argue, sales reps want to be ‘order takers’, not salespeople.
The era of the Buyers’ Journey is upon us, which means that the entire way that organisations attract interest and sell their offerings is changing dramatically. In order to hit sales targets organisations these days really need to have their sales and marketing teams collaborating as closely as they never have before.

Organisations that do not adjust to the new paradigm really risk being left behind, only to go the way of the dinosaurs.
My experience with a lot of different businesses is that there often is no coordinated effort between Sales and Marketing on how to manage the sales leads. Instead of an agreed, documented and managed lead nurturing program, often the matter is handled solely by Marketing and then somewhat handed over to Sales without much collaboration between the two.
This results in sales leads of varying quality being simply thrown “over the fence” to Sales for the salespeople to follow up and close.
Marketing gloriously claims that they have successfully generated X number of leads, while Sales exclaims that these so-called leads really aren’t worth their attention. “Marketing may as well hand me the phone book.” is a popular complaint by salespeople.

“Marketing may as well hand me the phone book.” is a popular complaint by salespeople.”

If the organisation doesn’t have a mutually agreed plan in place on what really constitutes a sales lead and on how to handle them, then the leads will most likely end up wasted with the response from the sales rep something like this: “I called them and they weren’t interested”, or even worse “I called them and they didn’t remember making an inquiry about our product”.
I believe this is where the “Death of a Lead” happens, because what happens to a lead once it is handed over to a sales rep will demonstrate of how much value was attributed to it to start with.
In many businesses that we come across the quality of the feedback from Sales to Marketing is either non-existent, very poor, or at best rudimentary. What is missing is a structured, measurable and – most importantly – consistently constructive way for Sales to inform Marketing of what works for them, and what does not.
Once Marketing receives this sort of constructive feedback from all sales reps, no matter where they are physically located, then it can then make better informed decisions on how to support Sales more effectively. So, if you close the feedback loop between Sales and Marketing you create what we call ‘a virtuous cycle of collaboration’ that stops wasting time, money and effort on both sides and allows both teams to live up to their full potential.

“If you close the feedback loop between Sales and Marketing you create a virtuous cycle of collaboration.”

We have a term for his Sales and Marketing collaboration, we call it Smarketing®. Here is an illustration of how it works:

But no matter what anyone calls it, most Sales Managers in our client organisations call it Nirvana. And wouldn’t it just be the most wonderful thing to get into your business, too ?

Contact us for an obligation-free conversation.


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About Peter Strohkorb

Peter Strohkorb is CEO at Peter Strohkorb Consulting International with offices in Sydney, Australia and in Atlanta, GA, USA. He is a global specialist in sales and marketing alignment and collaboration, that he calls Smarketing®.

He is also a published Author, an international corporate corporate Speaker, and an Executive Coach and Mentor, as well as an Executive MBA Guest Lecturer at the prestigious Sydney Business School.

Peter is available for enquiries for consulting, coaching or speaking assignments.

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Peter is an international Sales and Marketing consultant, speaker and author, specializing in Smarketing®, i.e Sales and Marketing team effectiveness through closer alignment & collaboration, and customer centricity. Peter has offices in Australia and in the USA. Peter holds qualifications in Marketing and Management from MGSM in Sydney, Australia and is a guest lecturer in the EMBA program at the prestigious Sydney Business School.

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