Homicidal Salesmen

Great leads keep sales people from poisoning your morning coffee.

A set of recent surveys show that marketing folks are split in their lead generation intensions and how they measure campaign success. Approximately 50% of aggregated respondents use lead quality and quantity to gauge campaign effectiveness while 70% claim their content marketing efforts are all about generating a large quantity of leads. In other words, their actions and their measurement means are not aligned.

This exposes an enduring truth about marketing and the divide between them and potential sales assassins. Some marketers think their job is to send as many leads to the sales team as possible, then let salesmen sort out the good from the bad from the oh so very ugly. This is way some sales people are two steps away from becoming serial killers, because they are overworked in the sorting processes and earning less per unit of effort than they know they should. Yet marketing teams can boast about their lead generating abilities and sinisterly suggest that sales just can’t close deals.

low-quality-leadsOn the flip side there are marketers who focus on generating only high quality leads via great segmentation, guiding targeted whole product development and crafting perfect value propositions. They choose to generate a smaller number of perfect leads instead of a large number of leads with variable and often dubious quality. Lead quantity might be fine for commodity products, but when your offering is complex, technical, has a long sales cycle and many buyer-side stakeholders, quality becomes all important. I once headed a marketing department where we focused on targeting and lead quality, and achieved an 80% close rate despite stiff competition (and, if I may brag further, the head of sales actually asked me to suspend my marketing campaigns for a couple of months due to the backlog of inbound leads).

The benefits of quality leads over quantity leads are so numerous that you may be conflicted by a sudden onrush of motivations:

Shorter sales cycle: The better the lead the faster the decisions your prospects make, because they have a clear view of your value and how it matches their needs.

Higher close rate: Spending the same amount of marketing mula on quality, targeted leads turns more of your leads into sales.

Lower overall cost per lead and cost per sale: Precision in targeting and communications leads to precision in spending. Since cost/lead and cost/sale are fundamental success measures, lowering the cost per lead makes you look good.

Lower overall marketing spend: Because of the higher close rates, your total marketing spend can likely be reduced, which makes you look good at budgeting time. Conversely, if the rest of your company can handle the strain, spend the remaining money on generating even more high quality leads.

Happier customers due to proper match: You can create unhappy customers and bad buzz by recruiting the wrong prospects. Quality leads create happy customers, which in turn creates good buzz and more unsolicited inbound leads of high quality.

Less drain on pre-sales support teams: Tech support takes a hit with poorly paired prospects. The better the lead quality, the easier their pre-sales support is and also the less number of prospects with which they need to contend.

Non-homicidal sales staff: Your survival is a good idea. Avoid salesmen death threats by sending them deals they can quickly close. This makes them so happy that they might even buy you a cup of unadulterated coffee.


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