Every company I’ve worked for has always had a sales team putting pressure on Marketing to provide ‘leads’, which is understandable. Usually the Sales Manager says, “Just get me the names and contact details of people who are willing to see me. Once I’m in front of them, I’ll do my job”. I do however have a problem with this, as it isn’t a lead. They’re inquiries, that is all.
I firmly believe that companies lose a huge number of sales leads by constantly trying to set up (possibly unwanted) sales calls. Some people will be fine about talking to your sales department after just a cursory glance at the product details on your website. But others want to take that step only once they’re absolutely convinced that your product is right for them.
Trying to force people into a buying your product on the first time you contact them just won’t work, they’ll just go elsewhere. So what should you do? For starters you should nurture the contact, provide them with the information they need – for free, keep in touch with relevant, interesting content and when the time is ready they’ll be ready for that sales call.
By nurturing the contact you build up affinity with the customer and give them the time to decide whether the product is right for them. I believe it’s this stage that classifies as a lead because the customer knows what they want; they’re fully informed and responsive.
“Not all inquiries are sales ready, you need to nurture them before they become a lead”.
I prefer to look at conversion ratios rather than the number of ‘leads’ generated. After all selling to 7 out of 10 is far better than selling to 2 out of 30. If you’re still stuck in the mentality of delivering inquiries rather than leads, now is the time to change.