Sales Quality

A sales manager asked me to suspend marketing for a couple of months because he could not keep-up with in-bound leads, ones which were achieving an 80% win/loss rate.

Peter Drucker must have been smiling from above, for I had fulfilled his mandate, that “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.”

Salesmen/women want to sell. When marketing strategy is well developed, it generates highly-qualified leads and biases prospects before they start researching alternatives. Give a salesman an unqualified lead and I’ll show you a salesman who will never buy you a beer. Give a salesman a lead so well qualified that the customer sells himself, and that same salesman will ask you to be his kid’s godparent.

sales-marketing-butting-headsMuch of the legendary marketing/sales friction comes from marketing abandoning quality for quantity. Some marketers want to generate a large volume of leads (which makes them look effective) and have salespeople sort out the good, bad and oh so ugly. This wastes sales people time, frustrates them, poisons relationships and motivates sales people to work outside of the marketing plan. When sales thinks marketing is doing a lousy job, they try to do the job themselves. I have encountered horror stories of sales teams developing their own collateral to subvert the marketing department, resulting in promotions even worse than was previously possible.

Marketers would do well to generate 1/10th the number of leads and make them all extremely well qualified. Break out your spreadsheet and calculate a linear set of leads (100 to 1,000) and their respective quality (90% to 10% close rates), the cost of generating each lead and the bottom-line profitability of each option. You will instantly see that the cost per sale drops with higher quality and the cost per happy sales person almost disappear. With one shift in focus you create more harmony and more green money.

Now go make your sales team happy.


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