Lead Management: What Is A Lead?

Uncategorized ‌• September 3, 2014

What is a lead?With so many organizations embracing inbound marketing as a way to connect with more ideal prospective customers, the number of net new “leads” being captured is growing substantially. But all too often, many of these leads languish because they never get followed up on. Why? Because some automated workflow and rules-engine scored these hand-raisers as “hot leads,” only to be accepted by highly skeptical sales people. In reality, many of these leads aren’t really leads. They are hand-raisers that one day may eventually become leads.

Think about it: if you are sales person expected to close a certain volume of business within a certain time period, what is your biggest constraint? The obvious answer is time. And if marketing thinks you are going to follow up on every scored lead coming from their marketing automation system, they clearly don’t understand your priorities. Don’t they realize that in order to get a hold of this so called “hot-lead”, you are going to have to make a minimum of 5 call attempts, leave a couple of voicemails, send a couple of emails, talk to at least one assistant, play phone tag at least a few times and in total probably invest at least an hour just attempting to get in touch with the so called hot-lead.

This miscommunication necessitates the question, “what is a lead?” The term “lead” gets overused by just about every marketer on the planet these days. Worse, it gets mass-produced by Marketing Automation Vendors who think their software is the answer to every marketing ill. No, the answer is that a lead is whatever sales says it is. Because if sales doesn’t believe a lead is legit, they won’t act on it, and it’ll be swept under the rug to become a hand-raiser that nobody ever followed up on.

What is your definition of a lead? Have you sat down with sales and defined what they want? Or is your definition unilateral? If so, perhaps it’s time for that conversation between Marketing and Sales. 

If you want to learn more about the OppSource methodology, take a look at our Lead Development White Paper

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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