There is a great bit of noise in the lead generation marketing world about automation through e-mail and inbound marketing. What most fail to realize is that many of these efforts are fruitless unless someone picks up the phone and generates the necessary sales intelligence to qualify a lead.
What is sales intelligence? It is the data that you need to collect in order to complete a sale. “Who is responsible for the evaluation of X?” “How do you currently use X?” “What do you like/dislike about X?” “How could you change X?” You can get some data online. You can get some of the intelligence from marketing automation tools but eventually you have to pick up the phone and verify the data.
Many of our customers are now utilizing our lead generation services to validate their efforts by filtering the inbound leads. The most disturbing comment from one customer was that their, “sales team refuses to follow up on the inbound leads due to a waste of time”. The organization I am referencing is a large IT services company that spends hundreds of thousands on marketing efforts to support sales. Along with inbound marketing, much of the budget is spent on live events, seminars and webinars. As a reference point, we were provided over 5,200 leads to prospect, profile, qualify, and ultimately schedule appointments with for their sales team. The graphs below will reflect results after a 60 day pilot.
As you can see, of the 5209 leads, our client is seeing about a 4% return on the efforts from inbound marketing through Technical Briefs, Trials, User Guides, and Whitepapers. The other 96% is considered unqualified and will continue to be nurtured.
What does this mean? Do you need to eliminate inbound marketing due to the low percentage of quality? Not necessarily. That would all depend on your deal size amount and the cost to create the leads. What this does mean, is that you need to have someone pick up the phone to qualify and nurture the lead before you pass it off to sales. Someone needs to verify the data that you have been given. They also need to determine if the lead meets the criteria of a qualified prospect.
Marketing automation and lead generation need to work together. If not, you are going to have the sales department refusing to follow up on them because they feel the leads are “a waste of time.”
Whether you have someone internally nurture the leads or you use a lead generation outsourcing company like Vendere Partners to help you, you must not lose sight of this goal. That goal being to generate nurtured, scored, qualified leads that you can provide to your sales team that will result in a shorter sales cycle and more closed deals.