Billions of dollars from business-to-business marketing budgets are spent each year on sales lead generation. Billions more dollars are spent to fulfill and follow up on marketing responses, and to determine which sales leads are qualified and ready for sales attention. Unfortunately, much of this investment in B2B sales lead generation is wasted. Why? Because many sales lead generation programs and lead qualification efforts are not in harmony with the needs of sales.
With this in mind, have you optimized your company’s sales lead generation programs to be in harmony with the needs of your salespeople, reps, resellers or distributors? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Have you built consensus with sales management on the definition of a qualified sales lead? Has this definition been clearly communicated to all parties?
Typical definitions include criteria such as:
Does the prospect have a need or an application for your product or service?
What is the prospect’s role in the decision-making process?
What is the prospect’s timing for purchase or implementation?
What is the status of the prospect’s budget?
What is the size of the opportunity?
2. Have you calculated how many qualified sales leads are needed in the sales pipeline in order to meet or exceed the company’s sales revenue goals? Have you broken that number down into how many qualified sales leads are needed each month and each quarter? Have you built your company’s sales lead generation programs with those target numbers in mind?
3. Have you put in place programs specifically designed to weed out the non-prospects and nurture the longer-term, not-yet-qualified opportunities-only forwarding the truly qualified sales leads to salespeople, reps, resellers or distributors for follow-up? Have you budgeted appropriately for this important sales lead development function?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, the good news is that you are not guilty of wasting your company’s sales lead generation investments. Instead, you are probably well-respected by the people in sales and corporate management.
By John Vaughan