Sales Thinks The Leads Are Weak - Well Are They? 12 Power Opinions (Pt 3)

Posted by Dan McDade

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on Nov 4, 2014 9:15:00 AM

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The_Lead_Are_Weak_250The leads are weak? You’re weak!

If you have never seen the movie/play “Glengarry Glen Ross,” do yourself a favor and watch it. Alec Baldwin rips into the late Jack Lemmon for commenting, “the leads are weak,” with a classic Baldwin-esque tongue-lashing: “The leads are weak? The <expletive> are weak! You’re weak!”

The movie should be part of basic training for every sales team in the world.

To accomplish a deep dive on the question of lead qualification, I’ve asked twelve lead generation experts to weigh in on the following questions:

  • Do you find that sales reps are too focused on disqualifying leads rather than trying to qualify them?
  • Do sales reps disqualify based on lack of budget or specific time frame?
  • If not, why not? And if so, why so?

Join us over this 3-part series as we hear the insight and opinions from some of our industry’s finest.

Read PART 1 here

Read PART 2 here
 PART 3 

Jim Dickie

Dave Brock

Joanne Black

Dave Kurlan

Barb Giamanco

Bryan Gonzalez

Kendra Lee

Jill Konrath

Matt Heinz

Chris Tratar

Craig Rosenberg

Kyle Porter

First up in Part 3:

Joanne Black, Referral Sales Expert: For inbound leads, marketing should be qualifying/disqualifying the “leads.” If not, it’s a waste of a salesperson’s time. Reps should focus on generating their own leads that are qualified. They can be 100% confident that when they ask for and receive a referral introduction to their decision-maker, the lead is qualified. Why? Because the rep has done a stellar job of describing his Ideal Client to his Referral Source and communicating the business reason for the introduction. The prospect will take a meeting because the business proposition resonates. Qualified leads sourced through a referral introduction close well more than 50% of the time.

Bryan Gonzalez, Analyst, Sales Development Practice: Sales reps tend to expect prospects with a check in hand and a big bow on their heads. I recommend every company define a minimum set of qualifications a lead needs to have to be a viable opportunity that a sales rep should spend time on. Then, the whole sales/marketing organization should abide by it. This definition can expand or contract depending on your business model and the capacity of sales to take on more or less pipeline.

For example, a company with an overwhelming amount of inbound leads should have a strict qualified lead definition, and therefore, disqualify more readily so as to not overwhelm the sales rep's pipeline with deals that go nowhere. In this case, something like a BANT definition makes sense. More often, sales reps need more pipeline—in which case, a BANT filter isn't going to fill it. Here, it makes sense to loosen that definition to focus only on a prospect's pain. A good sales rep can take a prospect with pain and get to a decision-maker, get budget, and establish a timeline that makes sense.

Reps that disqualify on budget and timeframe needlessly kill good opportunities. Again, if you identify an important business challenge and personal pain with your prospect, they can find budget and get you to a decision-maker. Studies show that getting to your buyers earlier in their evaluation results in bigger deals with less competition.

Matt Heinz, Heinz on Marketing Founder: The best sales reps I know are highly protective of their time. They triage as many things as possible OFF of their plate in order to focus on what will help them exceed their number and increase their commission checks. This mindset does cause many reps to triage their leads in a “negative” way—meaning they try to quickly identify leads that will be a waste of their time. Sure, some of this is short-sighted in that unqualified leads might still be worth nurturing. But good reps focus the majority of their time & attention on leads that are ready to engage.

Plenty of leads get disqualified for budget and timeframe, but more often than not, leads are inaccurately disqualified because the reps don’t know how to qualify the need. They ask questions focused on product interest vs. outcome interest. Just because a prospect doesn’t understand your product or service yet doesn’t mean they don’t have a need for the outcome it represents.

Kyle Porter, Sales Loft CEO: If companies generate a healthy lead flow, then sales reps should disqualify first—strive to get rid of the lesser leads ASAP. If companies are producing a shortfall of leads, reps should strive harder to qualify each one.

Reps should qualify based on ANUM – Authority – Need – Urgency – Money:

  1. Find the Authority figure that is in a position to authorize the deal.
  2. Identify an agreed upon Need that the product or service can meet. 
  3. Drive a sense of Urgency to invest in product/service.
  4. When all 3 of these are met, prospects will find the Money (budget) to purchase.

My takeaways: Referrals have a high close rate, and reps don’t spend enough time working their current clients and prospects for referrals (Joanne Black). A good sales rep can take a prospect with pain and get to a decision-maker, get budget, and establish a timeline that makes sense (Bryan Gonzalez). Plenty of leads get disqualified for budget and timeframe, but more often leads are inaccurately disqualified because the reps don’t know how to qualify the need (Matt Heinz). Reps should qualify based on ANUM – Authority – Need – Urgency – Money; when the first three are found, the money follows (Kyle Porter).

This wraps up the final installment of our 3 part series on the subject of lead qualification. We started with the question, “Do you find that sales reps are too focused on disqualifying leads rather than trying to qualify them?” The bottom line is that companies seem to have a long way to go to fixing the lead qualification problem. Want help on that? Give me a call: 678-533-272


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Topics: Lead Qualification


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