From a recent survey of new members to the Sales Lead Management Association, we found that generating qualified leads is the biggest issue facing the new members. More than just new inquiries, or managing inquiries or working with sales management on follow-up or even proving ROI, qualified leads are king.
It could be that these new members of the SLMA are not worried about the other issues because they generate enough inquiries, know how to manage them and have ROI and follow-up handled. Or, it could be that as usual the number one thing salespeople want is a qualified lead (thought of by many marketers as the most difficult and expensive issue in the whole process).
I have found that generating qualified leads isn’t difficult. If I ask questions of the inquirer (Product, Need, Desire, Time Frame, Budget, Authority, etc.) I can get 50-65% of the inquirers prequalified. These prequalified leads go to salespeople directly by the fastest available means and I expect them to be contacted immediately—same day for B2B, within minutes on B2C.
Some people in marketing refrain from asking any qualifying questions because they are afraid of intruding on the personal space of the inquirer (is there such a thing in B2B?). Yes, I have heard this from many marketers. I do my best to change their attitude and explain that the person wants something from you and unless you ask some qualifying questions you won’t know what they need and the salespeople will complain that you never give them qualified leads. Nasty circle isn’t it?
I agree that the unqualified inquiries can be nurtured and then passed to sales once a qualification level has been reached. At this point everyone is happy, the prospect, salespeople and marketing.
The moral is to ask questions of every inquirer, regardless of the source. Within 60 days of this new policy, your salespeople will hold a parade in your honor. Let’s hope your name will be in lights because you will deserve it as a Builder of Wealth. Yes, marketers are Builders of Wealth.i The Sales Lead Management Association believes marketing creates more wealth for every man-hour worked than anyone, yes anyone, in a B2B organization.
i For more about Builders of Wealth see: http://bit.ly/hB9i0p.