Building Inside Sales into Your Lead Hand-Off Process
Is your inbound marketing strategy increasing the traffic to your website and converting those visitors to leads? If so, that’s great news. But don’t relax just yet. You’re only halfway there.
- Are the leads you generated qualified?
- Are they in your target market?
- Are they the right size of company?
- Are they in a vertical market that makes sense for your solution?
- Are they decision makers, decision influencers or low-level “tire-kickers”?
- Are their titles/functions similar to those of your current customers?
- Are these leads good prospects that your sales team can help and convert to revenue?
It’s unlikely that the lead capture form on your website can gather all of the information you need to properly qualify an opportunity. If you ask too many questions on your form, you could be discouraging your prospects from completing the required information. A comprehensive lead conversion form might produce higher quality leads, but it might also stifle your lead generation efforts. A cumbersome lead conversion form that’s perceived as being intrusive or time-consuming to complete will frustrate prospects. They could populate the fields with bogus information just to move through it quickly or worse yet – abandon the site altogether.
So whose job is it to capture this information and answer these questions? If you say it’s the salesperson’s job, then you probably hand-off every lead that marketing generates directly to the sales team for immediate follow-up. It might surprise you that when this happens, it’s fairly rare for sales to follow up with all of the leads. In fact, it’s common for salespeople to follow up on only a small percentage of leads they receive from marketing. And some salespeople don’t follow up on any of the leads that marketing provides. Research from HubSpot indicates that up to 50% of all leads produced by Marketing are not follow up by Sales. (Source: HubSpot).
Salespeople don’t want to waste their time chasing unqualified leads. They want to invest their time and resources into prospects they can close. If Marketing hands off every lead to Sales, it’s likely that they’re all not qualified opportunities. Sales will then put them through their filter. They’ll see which ones pass the “smell test” and only follow up on the leads they deem worthy of their time. If they’ve struck out too frequently on past leads, then they might start to ignore all the leads they receive.
Many organizations are addressing this issue by building a lead qualification filter into their lead hand-off process. They’re leveraging an inside sales team to formalize the “smell test” and reaping the following benefits of an improve sales process.
If you’re confident that every lead you generate will receive proper follow-up, there is less pressure to try to qualify the lead with your online conversion form. A less intrusive and more manageable form will produce more leads.
Provide a Better Customer Experience.
If your sales team is ignoring leads, they are ignoring people. What if a good prospect with genuine interest is ignored? That can’t be good for your brand, let alone your chances to eventually close a deal with them. Also, keep in mind that just because an individual is not a qualified lead today, doesn’t mean they won’t be tomorrow. Good follow-up today may yield more and better leads in the future.
Higher Lead Adoption Rates.
The best way to ensure that the sales team follows up with every lead is to provide them leads that have been prequalified and put through a filter prior to them receiving them. Provide your team with leads they can be confident in. They will not only follow up on all of them, but they will be begging for more.
Increased Marketing ROI.
It’s a simple equation. Generating more leads + disciplined lead qualification process + increased lead adoption rates = more closed deals, higher revenue, and an increased return on your marketing investment.
The key variable in the equation above is “disciplined lead qualification process.” Executing your lead generation process with an inside sales team allows you to qualify leads in a controlled environment. Processes and tools can be put in place to ensure 100% market coverage, high engagement rates, accurate capture of business intelligence, and proper positioning of your solution and next steps in the sales process.