Why Sales Ignores Your Leads

December 22, 2014 Debbie Margulies


UnicornIt’s frustrating to put so much time, budget, and effort into providing sales with the best leads only to see them go to waste. Is the sales team really letting the leads go stale to spite you? Probably not. Most likely, the reps never saw the leads because:

  1. They weren’t notified about a new lead in an account they’re responsible for.
  2. Sales reps rarely use the assigned leads view in Salesforce.com.
  3. The leads weren’t assigned to the right rep.

In the true spirit of “sales & marketing alignment” – yes, that elusive nirvana – let’s look at the big picture. The reasons why your sales team never sees your leads:

Reason #1: Your company’s sales reps are busy thinking about their conversations, deals, and quota, (hint: all words that marketing doesn’t use), and so they don’t continually check for inbound leads from prospects and existing customers recorded in Salesforce.com. Ironically, everyone wants to know there’s activity in their accounts, but why is it so hard for sales reps to see new leads in their accounts? If sales reps had better notifications for leads in their target accounts and opportunities, they would recognize engagement (identified interest in content, marketing assets, events, etc), and would be far more appreciative of marketing’s efforts.

Reason #2: Sloppy or inconsistent data entry, list uploads, and inbound lead forms with non-uniform company naming conventions are just a few of the reasons slowing down sales reps and missing out on great leads. If reps actually looked at the assigned leads view in Salesforce.com and saw mistakes or non-targeted leads, they become weary about that info and won’t re-visit as often. You also know from experience that duplicate records derail follow up efforts, i.e. when a rep mistakes a lead as being new. Then, reaches out to a lead only to find out they’re an existing contact working with someone else in your company. That’s a poor experience for your prospect and a complete waste of sales rep productivity.

Reason #3: If sales and marketing use territory management rules to route leads, it gets even messier. As an example, if you already have a rep working on a Cisco account in San Jose and a new lead comes in from Cisco in New York. With territory rules, that lead would be geo-routed to the rep who covers New York instead of the rep who already owns the Cisco account. Furthermore, territory routing relies on having perfect firmographic data and workflows. Unfortunately, those workflows aren’t designed to route based on “assigned account”. Many great leads get wasted because they aren’t sent to the right rep. And, good luck if you rely on sales reps to reassign leads and hope that eventually the right rep follows up. When a lead is “not for them”, the lead is ignored.

Because of the reasons mentioned above, your reps aren’t seeing opportunities, and when they are seen, it’s likely with a lengthy delay. According to a study done by MIT and InsideSales.com, sales is 21x more likely to be able to qualify a lead if they contact them within the first 5 minutes of them filling in your lead form than if they had waited 30 minutes. Additionally, after 20 hours it becomes exponentially more challenging to successfully contact the lead. It’s time to take a new approach if you want to change this scenario. One of the most progressive ways leading B2B companies are up-leveling their go-to-market strategy is by moving to an account-centric (account based marketing) model.


Steps to Get Sales on The Same Page Through Account Based Marketing

Step #1: Named accounts – Sit down with sales and create a named account strategy, naming the ideal profile that both you and sales will focus on targeting. This will also help make sure that your goals and strategies match since you’re focusing on specific named accounts instead of purely firmographic criteria that have holes and overlaps. Use criteria from recent win/loss records to help identify ideal target types as well as emerging markets. Named account lists frequently change, so be ready to set up a regular (i.e. quarterly or monthly) account review between marketing and sales ops.

Step #2: Tagging in Salesforce.com – Work with sales operations to tag your targeted accounts in Salesforce.com in the account detail (object) to ensure sales is on the same page with you. You need to make sure the correct reps are assigned to these accounts, so that incoming leads that match targeted accounts are always followed up on quickly.

Step #3: Focus your budget – Help sales match inbound leads from your demand gen programs to the accounts they’re working. Like other B2B companies I work with, you may find that up to 50% of your inbound leads will match to existing accounts. What better way to work with sales than to show directly how marketing programs are creating better traction in the accounts they care about the most. You’ll have a much better idea on where to spend your marketing program budget (along with the justification). Doesn’t it feel great when sales says “Yea, get more leads like that”.

Where to… For too long, marketing has been generating leads and waiting (and waiting) to see if sales converts the leads to contacts. We’ve also seen that the reliance on a black box lead scoring hasn’t balanced the equation either. Everyone in B2B marketing has experience generating huge lead volume only to be followed up with 2 questions:

  1. How come sales hasn’t followed up and converted the leads?
  2. How come marketing never generates anything of value?

Isn’t this phenomenon a bit crazy? Yet, it still happens. Constantly. As you look to 2015, it’s time to turn over a new leaf — namely, make every step in marketing one that’s directly visible to sales in their named, strategic, targeted accounts and customers.

What’s preventing you from getting there? Anything you want to do differently in 2015 to get better results? Anything you want to repeat? Love to hear your thoughts. Email: dan@leandatainc.com

Do you want Sales to pay attention to your leads? Try LeanData’s Account Based Lead Management Suite – sign up for a demo!

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