State of Lead Gen-Working with sales

Recently, I read a very interesting post by Jeffrey Ogden about the state of lead generation in today’s economic environment. In it, there are several findings from CSO Insights from a recent survey they did on lead generation. And many of these findings are interesting. This blog posting covers SO much ground (each worth plenty of discussion) that’s it hard to focus on something you can do. Here’s my quick list of topics that need to be ironed out within any organization:

  • Sales quotas (realistic vs. un-realistic)
  • Optimizing lead generation (many firms COMPLETELY fail to market well to both existing customers and people already in their database; getting new leads is EXPENSIVE – leverage what you already have)
  • Need for Telemarketing (to me, this means you need to better qualify marketing leads – interest – into sales leads)
  • Lower marketing budgets (due to the economic downturn)
  • Lead scoring (entire whitepapers have been written on this!)
  • The buying process and matching content to it (if you aren’t doing this, you must be an idiot, sorry for being blunt)

Anyway, any one of these topics deserves time and discussion. But perhaps the most important in my experience is this quote:  “Marketing and sales should sit down and agree on what is a lead.”  After over ten years with two different software providers, this is perhaps the most important issue any mid- to large-sized firm probably faces. Aligning sales and marketing is critical. In a small firm, this isn’t too hard. Often, sales and marketing are either the same team, report to the same boss, or sit so closely together, that alignment just happens. But as firms grow, that notorious wall develops between the marketing and sales teams. It’s time to “tear down this wall!”

And the first step is agreeing on what makes up a “sales lead.” To me, this means that you need an expanded understanding of what the “sales funnel” is. It’s not a sales funnel. It is a marketing-to-sales funnel – a seamless progression for the prospect to move from awareness to interest to understanding to desire. And you organization needs to figure out that point that best makes sense to pass the prospect from the marketing process to the sales team.

Sales time is valuable and variable. You need to have a spigot that feeds sales people qualified leads. And you need to have continuous communications w/ between the marketing and sales teams. Sometimes, the sales team is busy and only wants the highest qualified leads passed to them. Other times, they may be willing to work just about any lead you get. Even better, this situation may vary for a team at the same time – some reps need as many leads as you can get them while others are all set and working relationships.

For marketing, this means that you really need to understand what sales needs at different times – and maybe on an individual sales person basis – and be able to deliver as needed. Flexibility. Understanding. Adjustment.


3 comments so far

  1. jefflogden59 on

    Thanks for sharing this, Greg and I could not agree more.

    The approaches of the past — cold calling, email blasting, events and other push approaches are becoming less and less effective, yet marketing and sales are too often mis-aligned.

    Companies have a great opportunity to seize the day — to implement marketing automation, think like a publisher, get everyone on the same page, implement lead scoring, nurture those not yet ready to buy, etc.

    Jeff Ogden, President
    Find New Customers

    • gregdonahue on

      Hi Jeff,
      Thanks for the comment! I enjoy your website and topics you talk about. I’ll be an avid reader!

  2. […] State of Lead Gen-Working with sales « Greg Donahue's Blog – view page – cached Filed under: Marketing Thoughts | Tags: content, funnel, lead nurturing, leads, Marketing, sales | — From the page […]

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