Walk out of your office and ask the first three marketers and the first three sales executives you encounter one question:
What constitutes a lead?
I suspect that you will get 6 almost entirely different answers to this essential, strategic question.
Before technology came into play things were bad enough. With technology it is now possible to get more poor quality leads to sales faster than ever before. Most of them are a waste or wasted.
Watch this brief video to learn how to establish a lead definition.
Generally speaking, companies define their market too broadly, resulting in wasted time and effort applied to too many prospects. Are we marketing to IT decision makers in the F100? Or are we looking for IT security execs at enterprise-level healthcare organizations? Knowing the difference lets us engage the “real” leads in a meaningful and far more efficient manner. In one case recently a client sent us 4,200 prospects. The total addressable market was 804 and they were missing over half of those targets.
Frequently, the definition of a lead is not shared by marketing and sales (or even within marketing or sales). If there is no agreement on a good lead definition, there will continue to be infighting between organizations, and waste. Is a good lead only one where a decision will be made in the next quarter? Or do we recognize the value of relationship development on longer-term leads? Must we talk to the CEO, or is this a decision that the CEO will have no role in? You always want to sell high, but there is no sense in selling too high.
While most companies say they sell a solution, not a product or service, the message around what that offering is (made up of a product, price and delivery mechanism) is more likely than not described differently by every marketing and sales executive in the organization. Do we provide staffing, or are we a HR services firm? Are we a niche vendor, consultant, or service aggregator? All involved need to agree and have the ability to articulate who we are, what we do, and why we’re better and different consistently and concisely.
Finally, the alphabet soup of lead qualifying criteria such as BANT and ANUM are not the solution to the problem. For most high dollar, strategic selling, BANT and ANUM disqualify companies based on the lack of timeframe and/or budget – a huge mistake that will allow more agile competitors to get in early, solidly position themselves while you are waiting around and too late to have any shot at competing. For more, take sixty seconds and watch the video.
Comments please! Let me know if you want to explore solutions to this problem for your company.