In many companies, generating any kind of an inquiry is considered a lead and sent over to the sales side, heaped onto the pile that sales reps must dig through in search of someone with a pulse that may have the potential to become a customer in the short term. This is but one example of why marketing and sales don’t get along. According to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of leads never become sales opportunities. This percentage can either indicate that marketers are not generating the right types of leads, or that the leads sales doesn’t select for short-term pursuit fall into a black hole, never to be seen again—or a combination of both.
The problem with this approach to lead management is that marketing is wasting the majority of the budget they spent to acquire leads, as well as giving viable leads over to competitors without a fight. How long can your company afford to continue this practice?
Instead, consider the advantages of changing the way you manage leads. Marketing automation can eliminate waste and improve the use of sales rep’s time by:
- Doing the cherry picking for them. Lead scoring measures fit and tracks activity so that only the leads that express high velocity, founded on concentrated interest will be routed to salespeople for follow-up. Instead of losing leads into a black-hole database, marketers can better ensure that funnel leakage is reduced while better-qualified opportunities are generated.
- Disqualifying leads that lack ideal customer traits. Armed with an agreed-upon definition of a qualified lead, marketers can remove, or disqualify, leads that do not fit the customer profile your company serves. Not only will this keep your database clean, but it will reduce (hopefully eliminate) fruitless activity for salespeople. All contacts are not leads. Continuing to treat them like they are is a waste of your time—and theirs.
- Using trigger events to transition leads at the right time. Tracking activity across the buying process enables marketers to identify patterns of behavior that result in forward sales momentum at the handoff. Marketing automation provides the ability to set rules and responses to those key behaviors so that salespeople don’t miss the chance to engage at the appropriate time.
Research conducted by SiriusDecisions finds that prospects are 70% of the way through their buying process at the time of sales engagement. The better able companies are to continue a content marketing dialogue from the first identification of a lead until sales readiness is indicated, the higher the potential to turn leads into customers. Nurturing leads over the longer-term buying process increases the odds that your pipeline will be more consistent, especially with evidence that a majority of leads that express interest will buy a solution from a vendor within a year or two.
Marketing automation software gives B2B marketers the tools they need to reduce lead waste and leakage and help salespeople to focus on pursuing the best opportunities for customer acquisition.