One of my favorite scenes from the movie Glenn Gary / Glenn Ross is when Jack Lemon suggests to Alec Baldwin that “the leads are weak.” This classic sales training movie demonstrates that sales and marketing have been at odds for quite some time.
It is pretty simple – sales wants opportunities. They define an opportunity as a real potential customer with a real interest in solving a problem that the company has a solution for in a timeframe that will allow the sales rep to make his/her quota.
Marketing defines lead generation as capturing the names and contact information from as many potential contacts as possible who have responded to one or more marketing tactics; advertisement, tradeshow, direct mail, email, webinar, etc. The gap between lead and opportunity is explained by the real buying cycle that exists for every potential prospect. Some contacts just want to learn about their industry and trends that are happening with companies like theirs. Others are ready to start evaluating solutions. Still others are trying to determine how best to purchase the solution they are predisposed to.
So are the leads really weak or are they just not ready to buy? There is a huge difference and one that makes the case for lead nurturing.