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by Elizabeth Crawford Elizabeth Crawford on June 10, 2016

3 Reasons Sales is Complaining About Your Leads (And How to Stop the Whining!)

It's nothing personal...it's an opportunity to improve your processes.

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Can you relate to this? You plan and execute an amazing inbound marketing campaign that generates a terrific lead list for your company. When you do your campaign reporting, you couldn’t be happier with your success. You hand the new leads off to the sales department and wait for the thanks to roll in.

But instead, you hear this:

We can’t work with these leads.

These aren’t qualified buyers.

The lead quality isn’t good enough.

This is scenario is all too common for marketers today. And in order to stop the contempt, both teams need to work together. 

Here are five of the most common reasons sales people complain about the leads generated by marketers—and what both sides can do to fix it.

1. The leads aren’t ready to buy 

One of the most common complaints sales people have about leads from marketing is that they are not sales-ready. This could mean that they are still in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, or that they don’t intend to make a purchase any time soon, regardless of who sells to them.

What marketers can do:

Inbound leads often behave differently than outbound leads. When inbound leads come into your pipeline, they are usually just beginning to seek answers to their challenges. Do a deep dive into your lead process. Do you hand off to the sales team when the leads are still at the top of the funnel?

If so, implement a lead nurturing strategy to guide leads further down the buyer’s journey so that when you do hand them off to sales, they have more of the information they need to make a decision.  

What sales people can do:

Sales people today need to understand that the selling process has changed. If a lead isn’t totally ready to buy just yet, that’s okay! Sales reps can become part of the nurturing process by engaging in social selling and inbound sales practices. With these strategies, the lead starts forming a relationship with the sales rep early and comes to think of him or her as a trusted advisor.

 

2.The leads aren’t qualified

One thing that’s difficult to control about inbound marketing is the people who enter your pipeline by downloading content from your website. Yes, you can—and should—target the content toward specific buyer personas. But at the end of the day, anyone could be reading your content, whether they’re your ideal buyer or not.

The typical line from sales people sounds like: I’m not wasting my time on this person. She’s not the decision-maker, so there’s nothing I can do here.

What marketers can do:            

If you’re consistently getting the complaint that your leads aren’t qualified enough, do your due diligence by making sure your marketing content is truly aligned with the needs of the correct audience. Why are you getting so much interaction from this type of person and not the type you’re aiming for? How can you adjust your content and campaigns to bring in more qualified prospects?

You should also implement a lead scoring system so that the sales department is only working the hottest leads. Lead scoring is a system for ranking prospects that defines the value each lead is worth for the organization.  

What sales people can do:

Sales people should understand that what they perceive as an unqualified lead could be a gateway to accessing that decision-maker they’re after. After researching and qualifying the company, the rep’s call could sound something like:

Hi Bob, I’m Joe from ABC Corp, and several people from your team have contacted me recently regarding X solution. Is this a timely conversation for you and me to have?

 

3.There aren’t enough leads

All sales people want more leads. It means that their chances of hitting on a truly qualified, sales-ready prospect are greater. The challenge for marketers is bringing in a high volume of qualified leads, not masses of people who are just starting to look around.  

What marketers can do:            

As I said in number two above, assess your campaigns and content to ensure that they’re aligned with the right buyer personas. A constant cycle of test, measure, adjust, repeat will help improve the results of your marketing campaigns over time.  

You should also make sure you have marketing materials that will appeal to people at each stage of the buyer’s journey: the Awareness stage, the Consideration stage, and the Decision stage. Not only will you be able to attract more leads with this variety of content, but you’ll have the ammo you need to guide them deeper into your funnel, therefore making them more and more qualified.

What sales people can do:

Sales people can help the marketing team attract more leads by providing constant intel: where might this buyer persona be searching for information online? What are their pains, challenges and goals? What information have you heard from prospects and customers lately that might be valuable? 

In order to improve the overall quality of leads, sales and marketing need to work together. Constant communication between the two departments is a must.  

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Elizabeth Crawford

Written by Elizabeth Crawford

Elizabeth believes that great content is the driving force of any inbound marketing campaign. She wields tactics like search engine optimization, social media, and blogging to get you measurable results across the web.

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