February 25, 2016  by Amy Campbell

Here’s Your Permission to Stop Sending Leads to Sales

photo via Dollarphotoclub

photo via Dollarphotoclub

Every lead is not sales-ready or interested in buying today.

Actually, you have permission to stop sending unqualified leads to your sales people.  They have important revenue-generating activities to conduct and don’t have the time to engage with unqualified leads who may not even fully know what they need.

I assure you that if you do send an unqualified lead to your incentive-driven salesperson, they are motivated to try to close them prematurely.

It happens, and it can create unintended consequences such as:

■ Wasting the time for everyone involved

■ Turning off a lead who felt pressured early in the sales cycle when they weren’t ready to be “sold” anything

■ Forgetting to follow-up more than the initial time – What happens to the leads who don’t buy today? Unless you have a very high-functioning sales team,  disciplined in executing a follow-up strategy, most of the “potential prospects” may never hear about your company again

■ Not following-up repeatedly at agreed-upon intervals – It’s natural to  turn your attention to the low-hanging fruit, nearer term closing potentials, leaving money on the table you can never quantify

■ Creating a negative sales culture

photo via Dollarphotoclub

photo via Dollarphotoclub

The Problem With Inside Sales
If you happen to have an inside sales team or pre-sales team that qualifies new leads from marketing, is it working? If it is working and your sales team can take a net new lead, qualify it and track it to a closed-won opportunity – that’s awesome! You are in the minority. Share your secret with the world because for most companies with an inside sales team, the KPI/metric is the number of dials and live conversations, and getting “next steps” such as a demo, follow-up call from another sales person, or face-to-face meeting.

Many inside sales teams are not active listeners who have enough experience or training making cold calls to hear the prospect’s point of pain, possess the ability to educate, nurture, or otherwise provide any depth of intel to other sales members in this process. They are prone not to understand details they are finding out and miss the chance to prospect for additional projects or phases that might exist within the same suspect’s company. The lack of business intelligence acquired during the typical cold call ends with missed opportunities to broaden and deepen the scope, minimizing the return you might have achieved.

How Are You Helping?
Within your sales organization, do you have agreed upon criteria for what constitutes a “sales-ready” lead? Initially, it might be as simple as reciprocal, two-way dialogue. The suspect or lead spoke with you or returned your call or email. There could be enough in those early dialogues to warrant sending to your sales team. Relying on a person in your company to make this kind of judgment call based on a reply to a voicemail left for the suspect/lead or email is pretty subjective. Is this really giving your sales team the best opportunity to move a lead through the sales pipeline? Probably not.

Sales professionals generate revenue by selling goods and services to their prospects.  Whatever their particular sales style or methodology, we aren’t getting into the how here, just know that they are going to do what they are designed to do best and if they are any good, will try to close every time they can. If you have a sales professional you value and want to encourage, create an environment and process where they can focus on moving an opportunity/deal through the sales pipeline. Utilizing your sales team as educators in the early stages may be wasting valuable resources and time they could be investing in meaningful interaction instead.

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