Which of the following are true?
- Appointments are better than leads.
- An inbound lead is better than a cold call lead.
- Sales reps should work every lead marketing sends to them.
- The check is in the mail.
- None of the above.
The best scams are ones in which the victim doesn’t realize he or she has been taken. By the end of this discussion, you’ll understand how this relates to buying into absolutes such as the ones listed above.
The biggest complaint I hear from C-level executives is that they have no idea whether or not anyone is following up on leads. And even if there is some follow up, they have no way of knowing how effective it is.
As a result, mostly well-meaning individuals create seemingly logical solutions to relieve the CEO’s pain. Consider these examples:
One tactic organizations use is appointment setting. There is a huge difference between an appointment setting campaign (pay-for-performance, $650 – 850 per appointment) and a high quality sales-ready lead development program (apples and apples comparison, about 1.5 – 2 times more expensive than a pure appointment setting campaign). In both cases appointments are set for clients; however, the path to a fully qualified, sales-ready opportunity is totally different compared to the path to an appointment setting company’s product. Why is appointment setting purchased? Most marketing departments are tired of generating leads, sending them to sales, never receiving feedback, and hearing complaints about lead quality. Sales reps say, “Don’t worry about a lot of qualification, just get me an appointment and I will sell them.” In the end, your selection of tactic depends on what you are selling. Ask yourself these three questions when considering whether you need an appointment setting campaign or a fully qualified, sales-ready lead campaign:
- Is someone agreeing to see your sales representative for an appointment more qualified than a fully qualified sales-ready lead? The truth is that in most complex selling situations, anyone who agrees to see your sales representative for any amount of time, without additional preparatory conversation, has more time to waste than most senior-level executives I know. Appointment setting objective: Get the appointment. Highly qualified, sales-ready lead objective: Qualify the company and individual(s); understand the current environment as it relates to your solution; and determine whether or not sufficient pain exists to indicate doing business sooner rather than later.
- Companies that sell a complex, relatively expensive B2B solution require the involvement of multiple decision makers. Could an appearance with one person, without advanced discovery, possibly be the best first step with a new prospect in that particular situation?
- Would your sales executives prefer to sell into a cold environment, or would they prefer a warmer environment? If the sales rep is going in cold all of the focus is on the presentation. In reality, few of your field salespeople are great cold-call presenters. And decision-makers don’t want to listen to a generic presentation—or sit through a lot of discovery.
Inbound vs. Outbound
Marketing technology has made it easier to get more, poor-quality leads to sales faster than ever. The problem is that most senior executives aren’t likely to give up their digital body language to “qualify” for your attention. What C-level executive wants to be treated like the human equivalent of a pinball—capturing your attention only after they have hit the right bumpers and scored enough points? So, the result of the current environment is that poorly qualified leads (mostly lower level decision-makers) are being dumped on sales executives while the more strategic accounts are ignored.
In an article on our website (pointclear.com) we cover the revenue formula and provide detailed processes for tripling the return on your current marketing investments. The formula, RING (Revenue – Inbound – Nurture = THE GAP) uses trusted and proven industry data to substantiate an “allbound” approach rather than an all inbound approach to marketing and sales.
Should Sales Executives Work Every Lead?
The short answer is “no.” In one audit we found that one of the world’s largest software companies spent $150,000 per quarter on one inbound marketing program that generated 6,000 so-called “leads” for $23.15 each. For a couple of years these leads would be sent directly to sales and ignored. Since only 1.28% of the leads were even qualified, the effective cost per lead was $2,660—more than double that of a highly qualified, sales-ready outbound lead.
So, if you are sending raw, unfiltered, unqualified leads expecting sales to follow up on them, they won’t—and they shouldn’t. So, back to the question at the start of this article. If you chose E, you’re right.
Be wary of the absolutes being sold in the market today. Don’t fall for the scam. The check isn’t really in the mail.