Question: If you invest marketing dollars to generate a lot of leads, who should be following these leads up?
Marketing can take many forms, like online marketing, print or radio advertisements, tradeshows, events, and the list goes ever on. If your marketing is doing its job well, it should be filling your pipeline with leads, from those who are ready to “buy now” to those who are early in the buying cycle and are just dipping their toes in to get some information. Not all of these leads can be handled the same way.
Your salespeople will want to follow up on every lead your marketing generates. However – and this may surprise you – in reality, giving the majority of your leads to your salespeople results in a dead lead.
Why? Is it because your salespeople aren’t good at their jobs? No! It’s because your salespeople are focused on the now. They are primed to go after the now-buyers: those are ready to take action and make a purchase.
When they go after the 80-90% of leads that aren’t ready to buy yet, they’ll give a quick call or email, determine that the lead isn’t ready to buy, and move on. Meanwhile, the vast majority of those leads do go on to buy the types of products/services you offer – just not right now.
To get these leads ready to buy, they need to be educated and nurtured over time. Depending on your sales cycle, this could take anywhere from weeks to years. And your salespeople typically aren’t in the right position to do it.
Why Your Salespeople Shouldn’t Be Following Up on the Majority of Your Leads
- Salespeople operate under pressure to close sales – they are trying to hit their quotas. This means leads that don’t result in immediate sales will fall through the cracks.
- Salespeople are usually compensated in some portion by commission or bonuses. This motivates them to close sales on the ‘low hanging fruit’ instead of cultivating long term relationships.
- The skills needed to sell are different than the skills needed to cultivate a lead over time. Rarely do salespeople (or anyone for that matter!) possess the ability to drive short term sales and nurture long term leads.
- Salespeople are typically the type of people who love the hunt, the sale, and closing the deal. They find these things motivating. The slow lead nurturing process? It doesn’t excite them.
I think we can agree to let the salespeople focus on what they’re good at – closing sales – and figure out another way to nurture the other leads in our pipeline.
So, If Your Salespeople Aren’t the Right Resource, Who Is?
You have a few options here.
- Online Marketing:
If you are investing in online marketing, it can be a great tool for nurturing leads when set up right. Provide your leads with high quality, relevant information so your company becomes their go-to resource in your subject area. Get their email addresses (in exchange for a particularly valuable piece of content, video, or event) so you can begin nurturing them through marketing automation and email campaigns.
With online marketing, you can refine your process until you are providing the right prospects with the right information at the right time, moving them further along the buying cycle at every stage. Your salespeople can step in once these leads become actionable and ready to buy now.
- Business Development Representative:
Another option is to hire a Business Development Representative to cultivate the leads. This person should find joy in working a relationship long term, researching and digging into a prospect, and persevering through the battle.
The Business Development Rep works in a separate department with the mission of taking the leads generated by marketing and “driving” them until an actionable project is identified. At that point, they can hand the opportunity to the salesperson to consult and close.
The Bottom Line
If you wanna turn leads into sales, don’t give them to your sales reps!
Core Online Marketing is an outsourced online marketing agency for small and mid-sized businesses. Contact us to accelerate your online marketing activities!
Join Focus and Core at our upcoming workshop – “How to Drive an Effective Online Presence and Have a Sustainable, Measurable Sales Organization”.
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