Many times leads that are sent to the sales team from marketing have limited information attached. Maybe it's names in a spreadsheet, or a list of people that filled out a webform. Because no one likes to call someone blind without any background on "why", those leads sometimes never get a follow up. In fact, the CMO Council released a study a couple of years back that said up to 70% of leads never get a follow up at all from sales. Leads with limited information would be represented in that number.

This contributes to marketing getting the reputation of delivering bad leads and to the sales team their reputation of not following up on leads that cost a lot of money to generate. It's an ongoing problem that has exhaustive discussion around it, but what are some practical ways to narrow the chance of potential breakdown?

  • When your team calls a prospect with limited information attached, have an approach so they aren't doing all the talking. As an example of what not to do, a few weeks back I met a sales rep at an event. I had mentioned I had a customer that worked in his industry and he proceeded to pitch me on what his company does and how my client would benefit and spoke for about 10 minutes (at least) about the great potential for us all. The problem was that what he was working on was so far removed from anything my client or myself would be involved with. With a couple of questions, he could have saved himself a lot of time and maybe got a referral out of me instead. So it's important to resist the urge to start "pitching" or "qualifying" right away. The goal needs to be to understand what they are working on and see where it makes to have any discussion or who it would make sense to have it with.
  • Understand the source of the leads to put some context around the information you have. Sometimes it's just a matter of asking a couple of questions about the event, who comprises the list you received, or what they were responding to.

Having more information empowers speaking to the right topics. Seek out information from both your internal marketing team, and from your prospects. The result will be time spent more effectively and insure that sales is getting the most out of any leads that are sent.