What is a Quality Lead and Does it Matter?

Updated: October 19, 2010

SALES VERSES MARKETING?

A small part of the problem, surprise surprise, is the gap between sales and marketing. Ardath Albee recently wrote:

"Part of the problem is often that marketing and sales view the idea of "leads" differently. Quality is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Marketing is searching for and cultivating leads who are likely to become your customers at some point - meaning that they could actually need what you sell to fix a high-priority business problem. Marketers need to have a big-picture view to ensure they can fuel a continuous pipeline.
  • Sales wants to pursue leads who will become customers in short order. [Read, NOW] Salespeople have a laser focus intent on meeting short-term revenue goals.

In order to serve both sides, the definition of a "high quality lead" must address these differences in perspective."

Unfortunately, we continue to use the sales model (i.e. ultimate solution placement) as our focus, believing that ‘content is king'. As a result we

  • gather and follow leads that are largely (90%) not going to buy,
  • focus on disseminating/following data that may give us faulty results,
  • lose opportunities to use our compelling technology to actually influence the buying decision journey at the ACTUAL point where decisions get made.

Most purchasing decisions largely get made well before we have contact with our ‘leads'; these types of decisions aren't yet ready for our content. Until or unless:

  • everyone and everything that will touch a solution buys-in to, and figures out how to make whatever changes will be necessary (and our current technology enters after this happens),
  • everyone figures out how to manage the change that a new solution will bring, with minimal disruption,

buyers won't buy. They will not seek content, use content, or act on it. Or they will pass our brilliant content over to other vendors. Or use it in a blog post as their own idea. Following content use will merely tell us who is looking and how they are looking. The rest is a guess.

MANAGE THE HUMAN SIDE FIRST

Buyers seek content only once the Buying Decision Team is ready, willing, and able to manage internal issues of politics, management, company/family strategy. As a result, the very last thing prospects need (some say 70% into the buying decision process, but I say 90%) is content.

We are spinning our wheels following digital footprints and assigning lead scores, rather than using technology to guide the front end - the human side of the buying decision process. When a marketing/sales enablement technology ‘manages the buying process' they ignore the need to create new technology to manage the human side.

We can help chart the course through the miasma of decisions necessary. But not using current methods. And until we do, we cannot have quality leads.

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