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Wait, That’s Not A Lead!

Wait, That’s Not A Lead!

As a marketer on the hook for providing Sales with the leads they need to drive pipeline growth and generate needed revenue to hit quota, are you going to make your goals this year? Are your Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) demonstrating a measurable impact on the pipeline or are they getting lost into the “SQL/SQO black hole” – that mystical place leads go to die?

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but we’re halfway through 2013. That means we all have about 200 days left to make “revenue impact” happen. If you’re hitting your lead quantity goals but not seeing the expected/needed impact on pipeline, then you might want to first reconsider what you’re giving to Sales before spending more money on generating MORE of what you’re already giving them. It’s time to ensure you’re giving sales leads that have a very real opportunity of converting to revenue AND doing within a reasonable sales cycle (translation: THIS budget cycle).

Let’s start with being honest with ourselves. Most of the leads given to sales representatives these days are NOT qualified, sales-ready leads. They are raw inquiries that have been thrown over the fence with the expectation that Sales will do something magical with them to turn them into revenue.

I know, you’re probably saying to yourself that you would never do that to Sales. You believe that the leads you send over are real leads, worthy of sales investment. But unless you’ve been there before, unless you’ve carried a bag (and a quota), you may not understand the difference between a raw inquiry and a qualified, sales-ready lead. Speaking from personal experience, when you’re carrying a quota the decisions you make about how you spend each and every hour of your day can be the difference between achieving quota and missing it. More specifically, spending an hour of your day pursuing a raw inquiry versus converting a qualified, sales-ready lead can be the difference between keeping your job and finding yourself in the unemployment line.

It’s easy to just hold yourself accountable for how many leads you send to Sales, not what Sales does with those leads. As a marketer, you may fear that if you don’t hit your lead quantity goal, you’ll be the one on the unemployment line. But here’s what most marketers fail to recognize: if marketing-generated leads don’t eventually impact the pipeline and turn into revenue – hitting your lead quantity goal won’t matter because your budgets will be cut anyway. If marketing investments don’t yield revenue, budgets will be shifted from marketing programs to sales headcount. It’s as simple as that.

So, let’s get on the right path to revenue in 2013. Let’s stop sending “junk leads” to sales. What exactly do I mean when I say “junk leads”? Here is my top 10 list of the worst leads (well, “leads”) that marketing sends to sales:

  1. The form submission by a competitor.
  2. The form submission by a student.
  3. The unsuspecting contact that opened an email to see what it was…and did nothing more.
  4. The person who viewed an image or infographic on your website.
  5. The contact who works for a company whose total annual revenues is less than the budget your solution requires.
  6. The person who abandoned your form registration.
  7. The form submission with a bogus phone number.
  8. The form submission with a bogus email.
  9. The contact who gave the wrong name but right phone number and address.
  10. The contact that is trying to sell your company something.

If any of the leads you’ve given or are planning to give to sales matches these descriptions, take them back (if nothing has come of them) or make an additional investment to qualify before sending over. If we (yes, WE) are going to hit our revenue numbers, we have to eliminate waste. We need to give sales the leads that will actually impact their pipelines this year – leads that are qualified and sales-ready.

If you’d like help determining your specific requirements for qualified, sales-ready leads, it’s time to ask sales exactly what it needs. If that conversation isn’t easy or possible, talk to OppSource.

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