People buy from people. Too many lead generation teams think that automated nurturing of leads can be taken all the way through to a one-touch phone qualification.


Three cheers for SiriusDecisions who got it right with the announcement last week of the enhanced Demand Waterfall.  While most of the buzz about the new waterfall is centered on marketing & sales alignment — a huge implication not being discussed is how to guide the ‘teleprospecting’ efforts and personalized 1:1 engagement.


New Sirius Decisions Demand Waterfall Lead Generation

A key feature of the updated SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall is to incorporate the role of human ‘teleprospecting’ into the equation for both inbound and outbound leads. This is a fantastic correction to a previous approach that has stifled so many lead generation programs — the over-automation of nurturing without sufficient human 1:1 rapport building.  This is an area our new clients have stuggled with the most in the past. The transition to a balanced approach of automated and human dialogue into the equation has sharply improved conversion rates.


The new waterfall is exciting because it increases the focus on distinct human involvement.  The power of human intellect enters the equation. 


Don’t Be a One-shot Wonder 

In a B2B complex buying process it never made sense to go straight from automated nurturing to one shot qualification calls.  Companies routinely became enamored with marketing automation and abandoned the human factor of building relationships over time.


Is your team guilty of any of these ineffective approaches?


  • Over automation of lead nurturing that is devoid of 1:1 engagement
  • One-time shot ‘call of shame’ that unnaturally seeks to advance the buying process with a first contact request for a meeting/demo.
  • Intrusive qualification questions in the first conversation without an exchange of value
  • Auto-qualify through form-fields
  • Lead follow-up is a ‘one & done’ approach


Lead Generation teams with these approaches struggle with low conversions from early stage leads to sales qualified leads.  There is a better way.


For complex buying decisions in competitive markets, a high level of persuasion is required.  Take a deep dive into SBI’s experience from the trenches on how to leverage the human capital incorporated into the new enhanced waterfall. 


Executing World Class Lead Follow-up

The one-dimensional view of ‘Follow-up’ is immediately thrown out the window. Execution of the lead management process should be performed through multiple touch-points.  This approach applies to inbound and outbound follow-up.


Automated nurturing is appropriately relied upon early in lead management processes to efficiently cultivate awareness.  This is important for cultivating large quantities of unqualified early stage lsuspects. The role of this automated early stage nurturing is to bubble up leads that show a level of interest. Once the lead has shown a level of interest then it’s time to graduate to 1:1 engagement with the Lead Development Representative (LDR).


With the prospect engaged at a deeper level of quality content, rapport is built through value-based 1:1 engagements. LDR efforts to build rapport are performed through multiple conversations, emails and social media outreach. The LDR probes with questions, listens, and seeks to understand where the prospect is in the buying process.


As a dialogue is developed over time the  LDR records thorough CRM notes and qualifies with BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing). Once the qualification has occurred, then the LDR suggests a meeting with the appropriate expert (sales rep) in their area.  While observing LDR’s following this method it’s common to see the dialogue so strong that the meeting request often comes from the prospect requesting to go deeper.


Embracing Human Intellect – Proven Model of Success 

The most valuable asset in any lead generation program is the human intellect of the team assigned to perform lead follow-up.  World Class companies leverage the intelligence and rapport building capabilities of lead follow-up staff to perform lead management.


The role of the Lead Development Representative is to orchestrate the lead management process and to leverage marketing automation for efficiencies and insights.  The LDR educates the prospect on key concepts and offers resources while moving the prospect through the buying process.  The key is offering quality resources of value that are in synch with the needs of the prospect. 


Download the World Class Lead Generation briefing on Lead Development Representative deployment.  This three page document (high in protein, low in fat) gives you the precise recipe for leveraging human intellect to drastically enhance your conversion rates. 


Lead Generation - Lead Development Rep Briefing

In summary, the goal is to refocus lead generation teams on the right balance of leveraging automated nurturing and human interaction. Companies who execute the LDR model of human interaction reap the benefits of outstanding conversion rates.  


Vince Koehler

Follow @vinkoe