1. Unqualified Leads are accelerated to the Sales Force Prematurely

Are your reps complaining that their leads aren’t sales ready?   Look closely at the time window of leads advancing to the sales force.  Inquiries that represent late buying stage prospects should escalate quickly. However, the vast majority of prospects are in the early stages of the buying process.  No more than 10-15% of leads should be accelerating to the sales force in the first day the inquiry comes in. 


Is there a large quantity of leads accelerating to the sales force within the first day of inquiry?  If so you are likely suffering from one of the following:


  • Score thresholds that are too low:  This generally is instituted early in the roll-out of a lead development team when there is an eagerness to show results to the field.  Sales leaders also encourage low thresholds because they can perceive a higher barrier as tight stranglehold on their flow of leads.
  • Scoring activity amounts that are too high:  The specific score on certain activities or content assets may be too high.  Often content items are scored too high, and consideration is not given to total scores than include a series of activities for an early stage prospect.
  • Short-sighted routing rules:  This involves routing rules that short-circuit involvement by the lead development reps.  Undeveloped leads go right to sales reps.  This happens when rules are created to route to focus accounts, premium product interest, or high engagement leads such as webinar attendees.  The problem is that the prospects aren’t ready to talk to a sales rep and the entire value proposition of facilitated buying is undermined.


Lead Development Reps are unique from Sales Reps for a reason, give them the opportunity to be successful.  Below is an example of a corrupted scoring model with activity scores that are too high, and a threshold that is too low.  Note that a single visit and series of interactions can result in a ‘sales ready’ lead:


Lead Gen Scoring Example of Corruption


2. Lead Development Reps push too early

There are cases where a prospect enters the lead management pipeline in late stages of the buying process.  It is wise to accelerate these late stage inquiries to introduce the sales rep with a meeting.


Too often Lead Development Reps are asking for a meeting in their first successful contact with a prospect who is not even close to ready.  I spend time observing and coaching lead development teams.  Leads reps are often directed to advance the relationship to a scheduled meeting on call #1.   They often get responses such as; “No, we don’t even have this in the budget.  No, just looking.” 


Why is this wrong?  The role of Lead Development Rep was created in response to the need to engage the prospect earlier in the buying process.   Prospects have sought to avoid sales reps by performing research online on their own in the early stages.  Companies make the mistake of instituting selling activities disconnected from understanding where the prospect is in the buying process.   The role of the lead development rep is to build rapport and offer resources.  The rapport leads to multiple contacts, and eventually a considerable percentage of these 1-to-1 nurtured prospects become qualified sales ready leads.


3. Tribal Activities Replace Process

Finally, pay close attention to whether your lead generation team is operating from a repeatable lead management process.  Many under-performing teams start out with a framework for leads.  Do to poor discipline, the process dissolves. 


The end result is an approach based on an undocumented process that is copied ad-hoc from rep to rep.  A certain ‘Tribal’ approach takes over replaces formal process.   Without a formal process, there are major holes in building an effective lead generation effort that include:


  • Inability to effectively compare and stack rank lead development rep performance
  • Unreliable forecasting
  • Structured buying stage conversion rates and average time per stage are replaced by a haze of cluelessness.


In summary, print out this blog post and review it with your lead generation team. 


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