B2B Sales, Lead Generation and Marketing Blog

When It Comes to Sales Leads, Are You Pursuing Hot Potatoes…or Couch Potatoes?

Posted by Vendere Team on Tue, Oct 2, 2012 @ 07:10 AM

man in chairYou already know that there are hot leads, warm leads, and leads in need of nurturing. But there is another type of lead that often goes unnoticed, despite its ability to clog up sales funnels faster than a toddler on a sugar high can clog up a commode with a stuffed animal. Meet: the couch potato lead.

Who is the couch potato lead?

The couch potato lead is like a person that watches hours of infomercials, but no matter how compelling the demonstration on the mop that is so powerful it can unstick superglue or the presentation on the kitchen appliance that can scramble eggs with a single vocal command, will never—not ever—pick up the phone with the intention of making a purchase.

In other words, the couch potato lead will listen to your sales pitch, accept your GoToMeeting request, watch your sales presentation, and commit to the next meeting, but little else.

The best way to avoid pursuing couch potato leads is by heading them off at the pass through high-level lead qualification. Nine times out of ten, couch potato leads don’t actually have the purchasing power they need to have in order to sign a contract on the dotted line, much less to sign a check. When leads are qualified properly, purchasing power is determined through questions that compel leads to give specific responses rather than make generalizations.

Proper qualification questions determine whether a lead is not only interested, but actionable. There’s a big difference between a question such as, “Would you be interested in purchasing ABC solution?” and a question like, “Are you authorized to make purchases of ABC and related solutions?” The former question compels a lead to tell you what you want to hear; the latter question compels a lead to present facts.

Even when companies have methodical, strategic lead qualification processes in place, a number of coach potato leads can squeeze in through the cracks. To uncover coach potato leads that make it past the qualification stage and into your active sales funnel, you have to have a solid customer relationship management (CRM) system and trained salespeople in place. Without a good CRM and skilled sales staff, your company will always suffer from some level of couch potato lead syndrome—an ugly, resource-draining syndrome that interrupts the flow of the natural sales cycle, frustrates salespeople and their managers, and limits your company’s sales potential.

Think of couch potato leads as window shoppers—or, worse yet, the people that enter your store, eat up your free samples, busy your employees who could be spending their time on paying customers, and result in losses that are difficult to quantify at the end of the day. Or, at the risk of mixing metaphors, think of couch potato leads as people that come to the fair simply to watch the Ferris wheel go round and round. Do you really want to engage people that are content watching wheels go round and round? -No. You want leads that purchase tickets and make your company’s wheels turn.

If you don’t have the means to streamline your lead qualification processes, make the most out of your CRM system, or train sales staff to identify and dismiss couch potato leads internally, it may be in your best interest to outsource one or more of these functions. Whatever you do, don’t let spuds that are duds get a free ride! Take action now, and you’ll be able to avoid struggling to explain your company’s sales numbers later.

Topics: sales, qualified leads

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