A lot of money is invested in marketing activities, content creation, social and promotional out reach, website design and conversion strategies, all in the name of acquiring and converting new leads. But there is still a common failure point for many businesses to capture and qualify leads. The inability for sales and marketing teams to work together to close the gaps on the lead management process has proven costly for businesses small and large.
The sales gap is starts with a change in mindset and once you combat this you are on your way to aligning the sales process.
Are your leads dying off as they wait around for someone to respond?
Well firstly let me tell you – your leads aren’t waiting around for someone to respond. They are continuing their research and approaching other vendors AND at the same time competitors are reaching out and approaching them. It is only a matter of time before they are acquired and nurtured to a sale by a savvy sales rep or marketing team that knows their stuff.
So why do leads still continue to be ignored? Shouldn’t sales reps want to jump on leads and close them quickly?
Common reasons sales people ignore leads;
- Do not see the value – not quality leads
- Do not have time
- Do not have a process
THE VALUE GAP
If sales people view the leads coming in as ‘rubbish’ or not ready to buy, they will eventually switch off and refuse to respond to the incoming leads as they see it as a waste of their time. It is important to communicate to sales teams the business cost and value of capturing leads, but sales also need to know the personal value to them of a lead.
Continue to send useful updates, information and insights, establish yourself as a leader and remain front of mind. Position yourself as the brand they think of first and be on hand when they are ready to buy.
THE TIME GAP
By now most of us know the importance of lead response time and the consequences of not following up leads with speed and efficiency – or do we? New technologies such as live chat apps installed on websites has changed buyer behaviour and expectations, driving up expected response times. The “Lead Response Management Study” by leadresponsemanagement.org concludes that the odds of calling to qualify a lead decreases by over 6 times in the first hour for online leads.
If you don’t respond it is likely your potential customer will continue their search and move on to engage with a competitor when they are ready to buy. This is evident in research by InsideSales.com, which shows that 35–50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
With modern technology and marketing methods we are seeing more leads coming into the funnel from multiple channels. With an influx of leads, sales teams are challenged with trying to work out which leads are ‘serious’ and ‘quality’ leads that are ready to make a purchase. On top of this sales reps are often burdened with multiple roles and responsibilities, they are expected to cover the full sales process from top of funnel lead entry, qualifying, nurturing, rather than being able to focus on selling and closing.
It is unrealistic to expect the one sales person to harbour all these skills and expertise and have the time to execute in a timely and professional manner. It makes better business sense to split the sales function into two parts – early funnel (inside sales) and late funnel (field sales) and measure accordingly.
THE PROCESS GAP
When there is confusion around processes, usually the course of action taken is to do nothing and wait for someone else to take it up or worse – deflect and blame others.
By putting in place a lead scoring system to determine the sales ready status, you can qualify leads and align to the correct departments and people to take action.
If the prospect has downloaded a white paper online they may just be researching and might not necessarily want to be contacted by a sales person so this should go to marketing for further nurturing. However if the lead has consistently downloaded multiple white papers and viewed a demo they are likely to be further along in the buying process and it would be the right time to reach out to offer further information or sales assistance. Putting detailed metrics in place can save time and costs and give sales and marketing teams a structured and aligned focus.
READ MORE ON SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT; http://www.salespond.com/sales-marketing-aligntenment/