If you’ve been in marketing longer than about a week, you’ve probably had this conversation (or something close to it).
Sales Rep: These leads just aren’t that good.
Marketing Guy/Gal: Well, I’m not sure what to tell you, we’re trying to generate the best leads possible.
Sales Rep: Well, when we call them, they don’t even know who we are or what we’re talking about.
Marketing Guy/Gal: We’re trying to send you guys only the qualified leads. The lead actually had to answer ‘yes’ they wanted a demo, or we wouldn’t have assigned them to sales.
Sales Rep: Interesting, because when we call, not only do they NOT want a demo, they have no idea who we are or why we’re calling them.
Marketing Guy/Gal: Well, then they’re dumb, because they answered the question ‘Yes’ when asked if they wanted a demo.
Sales Rep: Silence
Marketing Guy/Gal: Silence
This conversation–or a variation of this conversation–happens in every company with separate marketing and sales departments. They simply disagree about the quality of the leads being generated. They disagree about lead score.
Marketing believes that every lead passed to sales is mere moments away from being a customer. Sales struggles to understand why marketing keeps sending them these terrible leads.
A wide gulf exists between perception and reality on both sides. So what’s going on? Why do inside sales reps disagree with marketing about lead quality?
Sales doesn’t understand the tactics marketers use to drive the leads. They haven’t seen the landing pages. They haven’t read the information the lead was trying to access. They don’t know the form fields, the answers, or even the questions.
Most inside sales reps are simply unfamiliar with the marketing process.
If you have a marketing automation and/or lead scoring platform in place, your sales team likely doesn’t understand how the lead scores are tabulated and when a lead is sent to sales.
They fail to understand these things, not because they are dumb, but because they have never had to understand them before. No one from marketing has ever sat the sales team down and showed them the forms lead see, or walked them through the lead scoring process.
If a sales team understood the huge amount of work, focus, and variability involved in getting a lead that is ‘Sales Ready,’ they would likely appreciate the leads more.
Yep, this is just part of being a marketer. Every marketer thinks that the sales team is stupid. Marketers think the sales team doesn’t value leads as much as they should. In a marketer’s mind, leads should be called within 30 seconds of filling out a form. Every second a lead sits without contact is a second that is wasted. Leads become less likely to buy over time.
So when a sales rep doesn’t call a lead for 3 hours, or 3 days, do you think a marketer is going to truly hearken when a sales rep says that the leads aren’t any good?
No one likes rejection. It’s human nature to hate rejection.
Sales reps are human. They’re on the front lines of rejection. They hear ‘no’ all day long–only occasionally punctuated by the occasional ‘yes.’ Eventually that frustration builds up.
After a while all these ‘Sales Ready’ leads don’t feel so sales ready.
Keep in mind, marketers have never cold-called. They’ve never been told ‘no.’ Marketers look at data all day long and try to optimize their landing pages, their ad groups, their content and their SEO.
Marketers don’t know what the real world of sales is really like.
So, they assume that when a lead says ‘Yes I want a demo,’ that the demo completed rate should be 100%.
They don’t realize that sales will likely never even speak to 50% of those people. Sales simply won’t talk to half of the leads because the phone number is bad, the lead didn’t know what they were really saying when they answered ‘yes’ on the lead form, or the schedules don’t match up. Marketers live in a world of numbers and optimization. Thus, they can’t imagine someone that said something as obvious as ‘Yes I want a demo,’ avoiding a sales rep’s phone calls, failing to return a voicemail, or having a demo and then saying, ‘No it is not really a fit for us.’
Marketers don’t understand this.
Two Possible Solutions
1) Communication – Marketing and sales should communicate openly about lead volume, lead quality and lead processes.
2) Cross-Training – Marketers should occasionally make sales calls and sales reps should occasionally look at marketing data and help marketers optimize.
Don’t freak out. I’m not suggesting that your SEO guy start making 6 hours of sale calls a day. Nor am I suggesting that your top producing sales rep start creating landing pages in your CMS. However, what I am suggesting is a healthy understanding by both groups of the other’s craft.