Today's post is by Joanne Black, America’s top referral sales expert. Visit NoMoreColdCalling for more articles, tips, and free resources. You can also find Joanne on Twitter: @ReferralSales.
If you depend on marketing to score your leads, you can forget about hitting your numbers.
Prospecting is not your marketing department’s job. It’s your job – and it’s your most important job.
You’re not entitled to sit back and wait for great leads to fill your sales pipeline, which has become common practice in most sales organizations. Many salespeople complain that marketing isn’t providing enough leads and definitely not qualified leads. Following up on poor leads is a waste of your sales time, but that’s what happens when you let someone else do your job.
Marketing Is Great, But…
Don’t get me wrong. Our marketing teams provide invaluable support. They bring prospects to our Websites, nurture relationships, conduct research, create demographics, write case studies, and build social-media strategies. I have worked with and learned from some great marketers, and I have seen well-aligned sales and marketing teams do some great things together. But marketing should not be qualifying our leads. We are the only ones who should do that.
An Unexpected Point of View
Ken Krogue, founder of InsideSales.com, advocates for striking a balance between warm calling and inbound marketing. While many B2B companies stand to benefit from an expanded inbound-marketing presence, it’s not enough to score those big-name accounts.
Krogue says that, although his company uses inbound marketing extensively, it doesn’t generate the large-scale leads he needs in order to sell to large clients such as the Fortune 500. “If you look at a typical bell curve, 70 percent of all inbound leads that come in are small,” he explains. “To score deals with enterprise-class companies, we have to reach out and initiate conversations and then move to a Web-based type of nurturing.”
Quality Trumps Quantity
In most marketing departments, the focus is on lead volume when it should be on lead quality. They measure the success of inbound marketing by how many leads are generated, rather than on how many of those leads actually convert into new clients.
Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, suggests the following solution: “Start with a common definition between sales and marketing of a good lead. Then track lead performance through the pipeline to ensure your overall modeling on lead-opportunity-close is correct, but also to adjust resources and lead channel investments based on where the best conversions and lowest marketing cost per sale exists.”
Nurture marketing takes us only so far. It’s up to salespeople to nurture their own relationships, not just with marketing automation, but with a proactive, outbound, and disciplined sales-prospecting strategy.
How do leads that come from your marketing team compare with those you create through referrals and other business-development strategies? Share your thoughts in the comments section.