Why Your Lead Generation is Broken
Lead Generation in B2B Sales is a topic that usually ends up in finger pointing and a verbal bun fight, between the people in Sales and Marketing. No Sales Leads, or even poor quality sales leads usually means no Sales, so surely this needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Not only do no sales leads result in reduced sales, they can also lead to your best sales people leaving the business. Many business leaders see this as a contradiction, as they expected the sales people to create their own leads and if they don’t, are only too happy for them to leave. Alternately, if the business has some form of sales channel – Partners, VAR’s, Distributors or Dealer network, then they expect them to generate their own leads and may even fire them if they fail to sell enough. Either way, Lead generation is broken in most companies and here’s why:
1) Sales have Ownership of Lead Generation – Not all good sales people can prospect and even when the good Sales People do generate leads, they will quickly run off to close them and then stop prospecting. This creates peaks and troughs in their performance and their sales figures. Sales People who have ALL the responsibility for generating leads will typically leave the organization after 6-18 months, which can then create further problems.
2) Marketing have Ownership of Lead Generation – Whilst there is nothing wrong with Inbound Marketing, you should never have all your eggs in one basket. Furthermore as I have written before, the drive for content marketing has produced leads which are people looking for ‘How to” versus people actively looking to buy solutions. Marketing is by it’s nature reactive in that sales people have to then wait on the phone ringing or the website inquiry. Lead generation is pro-active contact with highly targeted prospects which is not what marketeers do naturally.
3) Outsourced Telemarketing have Ownership of Lead Generation – they are driven by quantity of meetings not quality of meetings confirmed and hence you will find the real ROI is therefore limited. Furthermore, unless they are on some type of long term retainer, they cannot invest the time and money in product & domain knowledge, to be as effective as any in house team. They will always have a lower qualification criteria and sales people hate this, because these leads then become a distraction and a waste of their time.
So what’s the answer? Well firstly we need to do things differently, and the starting point is separating Lead Generation from Sales and Marketing. Lead Gen is a separate skill and role that requires 100% focus. Sales people will always default to selling, rather than prospecting and Marketing people will always default to marketing. Lead Generation is a full time role and needs 100% focus rather than being part of another job. If you’re reading this and still not convinced then check out Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross of Salesforce.com which gives a great practical example of how this works. If you talk this through with Sales & Marketing you may well be given 100 reasons this cannot be done, and if you listen, your Lead Generation will continues as is. Lead Generation needs to becomes a little more fashionable and given a much higher priority with a willingness to spend time and money on it, to do it professionally. Until we get there, I fear we will always do what we’ve always done, and always get what we’ve always got. Inconsistent, poorly qualified, low numbers of new business leads.
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