It’s true isn’t it? That’s a fairly common situation in the B2B market. When the numbers are down and falling short of target, the blame game is at its best. Marketing tries to prove its contribution to the bottom line and insists that there are enough new B2B leads being poured into the sales funnel. The sales department isn’t able to close enough deals and a sense of doom and gloom just percolates company-wide.
So what seems to be the problem here? Why aren’t your sales people following up on the leads provided by marketing? There could be a few reasons for this and they are common across many B2B organizations:
- Traditionally, sales is ill-served by marketing. Even though marketing output of leads has improved over the years, the notion still exists to colour the perception of sales people about leads provided by their colleagues in marketing.
- Based on these historical perspectives, sales people have a low perceived value for the quality of leads that marketing may consider “high net-worth”.
- Because of the sheer number of leads that are put on their plates, it becomes a number play vs. a quality play for sales people.
- If sales people are not bought into the lead generation process, they don’t feel involved enough to pick up from where marketing hands off the leads to them. In the absence of a team approach, there is no synergy and the organization suffers.
- There is no commonly agreed upon definition of a lead. When hand-raisers and new contacts are disguised as leads and thrown at sales staff, they tend to ignore them rather than follow up on them.
- A constant refrain you hear in many companies is the strong disconnect between sales and marketing. While both may be chasing the same business goals, there isn’t a common strategy that ties in their efforts together, and therefore, the means to get there are varied, i.e. disconnected.
- Organizational dynamics of “credit” are at play. When there’s a problem, folks are quick to “credit” the blame where they think it belongs. But a good job gets done and departments don’t want to give credit where it’s due.
- Lack of a defined process for accountability allows the buck to pass along and keep rolling. No one knows where it stops (and no one really cares!).
- Incentive programs are either not in place or are inadequate; so sales people have no compelling reason to follow up on leads.
- Compensation is not tied in—sales performance is not benchmarked according to lead conversion rate and there is no defined matrix for evaluating sales people.
Are there other reasons you think your sales people aren’t following up on leads? Leave me a comment.