Is it necessary to pre-qualify inbound leads? That’s the overarching question I recently presented to a panel of industry experts. Over the course of this three part series, you’ll hear from 15 leading voices in the world of B2B sales, marketing and lead generation, as they share their insight in response to the following questions:
- Are companies wise to invest money and time to pre-qualify inbound leads from marketing automation systems that have been assigned a “perfect” lead score?
- Should CMOs feel confident that these leads from marketing automation are ready for sales to close?
- Without additional qualification measures (such as tele-qualifying), will these leads inevitably clog and choke the sales pipeline?
In the first of this three part series, we’ll hear from author and consultant Ardath Albee; entrepreneur Kyle Porter; author and consultant Joanne Black; and consultant and speaker Dave Brock.
|PART 1||Read PART 2 Here
|Ardath Albee||Craig Rosenberg||Chad Burmeister|
|Kyle Porter||Carlos Hidalgo||Ruth Stevens|
|Joanne Black||James Obermayer||Chris Tratar|
|Dave Brock||Ginger Conlon||Chris Snell|
|Dave Stein||Jamie Turner|
Now, to the experts:
Ardath Albee – Author of eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale:
But, what I really want to get from inside sales qualifying calls as a marketer is a sense of whether the content and experience the prospect is having with the company is relevant and valuable. Lead nurturing programs and content are a best guess — even with personas driving the storyline. Until prospects are interacting with the content, marketers don’t know if they’ve hit the mark. Person-to-person insights are highly valuable, both for deciding whether a prospect is worthy of pursuit and gleaning insights for continuous improvement of content and marketing programs.
Ardath does a great job of describing the state of scoring (or what she refers to as scoring schemas). Her recommendation about leveraging the market intelligence that comes from inside sales is absolutely right on target.
Kyle Porter – B2B Sales Intelligence:
Are companies wise to invest money and time to pre-qualify inbound leads from marketing automation systems that have been assigned a perfect lead score? It depends on volume. If above 250/month, yes—if only to set-up qualified appointments and demos with a closer. Lead qualification is not the best use of account executives’ time because the leads need quick and frequent response, as well as qualification tactics that need to be honed in by professionals focused on this core function.
Kyle does not believe that marketing automation produces leads. I tend to agree.
Joanne Black – Author of No More Cold Calling and Pick Up the Damn Phone!:
To generate quality leads, marketing and sales need to be clear on a common definition of qualified lead and this agreement must be reinforced from the top down.
Joanne is someone with whom I enjoy a verbal spar from time-to-time—particularly on some of the topics in her book, No More Cold Calling. That being said, we share a mutual respect each other's opinions, and she no doubt adds a great deal of value to every conversation.
Dave Brock – Learn how to Transform Your Organization:
If leads are clogging/choking the pipeline because they are bad quality, then there is an issue on agreement with what a sales ready lead is, or there is a problem with what is being done to assure they are sales ready. If they are high quality and sales ready, and aren’t being addressed by sales (clogging the pipeline), then it is more likely to be a resourcing issue—that impacts the entire pipeline, not the top end. In this case, pre-qualifying only addresses a part of the real problem, but not the whole problem.
I do believe high quality lead scoring and possibly some level of tele-qualifying might be required to maintain the quality and produce quality sales ready leads.
David is certainly no shrinking violet. His passion (and perhaps some impatience) comes through, as evidenced in his response.
Dave, I hear what you’re saying. But if I may interject, the problem as I see it is there is still no way a marketing automation solution can accurately determine whether (or not) a lead is actually “sales ready.”
It's evident that no one in this group recommends an “all in” strategy when it comes to lead scoring. A balanced, or “allbound,” approach is the way to go; it's what I deem to be appropriate as well.
In part two of this series, we'll take a look at some of the input from: The Funnelholic's Craig Rosenberg; Annuitas Group’s Carlos Hidalgo; Sales Lead Management Association’s Jim Obermayer; DM News’ Ginger Conlon; Competitive Sales Strategist and Consultant, Dave Stein; and agency founder Matt Heinz.
By Dan McDade
Topics: Lead Qualification