Qualified leads can be generated any number of ways: phone calls email, webinars, direct mail and even marketing automation if done well. It's not, however, the quantity of leads that counts. It’s the quality of the leads.
Lured by the promise of easy money — "sales-ready" leads pouring in — many well intentioned b2b marketers have jumped on the "inbound marketing" bandwagon with both feet. Management is measuring marketing on the number of leads turned over to sales and on a cost-per-lead basis. These measurements drive low-quality leads to sales. Watch this 60-second video to learn more about inbounditis.
For the record, I am an inbound-marketing advocate and an early adopter of marketing automation tools. But technology cannot be relied on exclusively to generate sales-ready leads or your organization will develop inbounditis. Here are some tell-tale signs your company is infected:
- The number of inbound leads increase as deal size decreases;
- Top performing sales reps refuse to follow up on inbound leads;
- Lead quotas are met, but the number of sales-accepted leads plummets;
- Revenue declines.
So what can b-to-b companies do to get back on track?
Don't wait for an inbound lead to come to you before you react. Instead, reach out proactively and engage the prospect early on in the buying cycle.
Create value. Invest the time to understand the unique needs of your prospect before you ask them to invest in your products or services. Pick up the phone and have an intelligent conversation based on what you know about your potential buyer. Send out a compelling direct mail piece highlighting fast facts based on recent b-to-b research, or host a webinar that speaks directly to the pain points your targeted industry is experiencing now.
The combination of inbound and outbound marketing, call it all-bound marketing, is a proven formula for creating a healthier sales pipeline. This powerful medicine breathes life back into flat lining sales profits. WARNING: All-bound must be supported at the executive level and administered consistently for desired results. Let me know if I can help.