There is much discussion in internet groups about “aligning marketing and sales” and lead follow-up is a critical part of this discussion.
In a recent post, I shared a formula for projecting sales (and a budget) from leads, and discussed the value of leads. “Did you Buy” studies conducted by Thomas Publishing, Penton, the Advertising Research Foundation and others revealed the sales potential of advertising leads. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research showed similar findings for trade show leads. Bottom line … about 67% of all inquiries are from prospects who plan to purchase within 6 months and 1 in 5, or 20%, should buy from you. The logic shouts that if the leads generated are worthless then the promotion investment was a waste. It follows then that if research has proven that leads are indeed valuable then the waste comes from not following up. So why aren’t sales leads followed up?
The most successful sales managers I’ve worked with partnered with marketing and focused their efforts on educating their sales force in four specific areas:
- The value of leads (research) and the marketing effort/rational behind the campaign.
- Training on effective lead follow-up and qualification techniques.
(What makes a “qualified” lead a qualified lead?)
- Communicating clear, realistic expectations regarding lead follow-up.
- The need for feedback for Continuous Performance Improvement.
Of course, the companies each took different tactical approaches, but the fundamentals remained the same. Managing a sales force is a tough job and aligning sales with marketing is a challenge. But good sales people won’t ignore new business opportunities and good sales management won’t allow it.
Why aren’t sales leads followed-up? There are a number of reasons but the big one is this: When sales lead follow-up isn’t required by management it just won’t happen.
This post originally appeared on the Ultimate Lead blog and is reposted with permission.