• The Right Way to Pass Qualified Sales Leads

    OK, you just got a great lead from your marketing team, now what?

    Over the past 20+ years in sales, the number one complaint I have heard among sales people as well as sales managers is, “If I just had a few more leads I would be able to get to that next level.” While more and better qualified leads are always nice, if you or your team are not trained on how to best approach a fully qualified sales opportunity, the results will be only slightly be better than the way you are doing it today.

    With the amount of effort and investment necessary to build a best in class marketing and sales process, marginal improvement won’t cut it. The good news, it does not have to. You can dramatically improve your sales by simply paying close attention to not only the lead development process, but to the passing and transition process.

    Investing in the people and process to develop and deliver fully qualified sales opportunities to sales is smart business. The best in class companies have figured this out and are out performing others that think sending sales warm, or “marketing qualified leads” is effective.

    Even farther behind are those that believe sales should prospect and find their own opportunities and bring them all the way through the process to close. While a good sales person will find opportunities on their own, they won’t find enough, and a good sales manager should not expect them to.

    That being said, some of the “best in class” companies who have invested in a process where teleprospecting is employed have a major disconnect. While they have identified that teleprospecting is necessary in the middle of the funnel to produce qualified sales opportunities from the marketing qualified opportunities, sales is not trained properly on how best to handle a fully qualified sales lead.

    It’s not their fault, they are not used to receiving opportunities that are so far down the sales path. Give them a bucket of marketing qualified leads and they will get an average of 25-30% of them into their process, but how should they handle a lead flow where the expected conversion rate should be somewhere above 70%? Seems like a no brainer, less work, the Glen Gary leads right? Not really.

    This type of opportunity is very valuable. It’s at a very delicate stage, and should be treated accordingly. The prospects interest has been piqued, they have significant pain, they have the ability and willingness to solve that pain and they believe that the person they are going to speak with can help them. However, after opening up and confiding in the business development rep through the teleprospecting process, they are feeling vulnerable. They have not yet met the sales rep, and until that rep has built credibility and established rapport, there is no room for error.

    First, the sales rep should have open and frequent communication with their teleprospector (Business Development Rep). They should be speaking the same language and have a similar style. Your BDR can make the difference of missing or crushing your goal, so treat them accordingly. Remember the prospect is most nervous as they are being handed off to the sales rep. Some BDR’s will even facilitate the hand-off call to ensure a smooth transition, this can also be a great training opportunity.

    Second, DO NOT reschedule, show up late or miss a call under any circumstances. If you do, you have blown the opportunity and cost you and your company a lot of money. First impressions are everything, especially at this point in the process. One of the many important reasons to have a close working relationship with your BDR is so they will be aware of your availability.

    Third, upon meeting the prospect, take the time to recap the conversation which occurred with your BDR briefly. You want to ensure everyone is on the same page but don’t want to waste the prospects time by asking them to repeat themselves. They should get the feeling that you and your BDR have communicated effectively. Remember the first impressions of your organization are being formed.

    Finally, this is basic selling 101, but next is time to listen. The prospect does not care about how wonderful you and your company are. They want to know how you and your company can solve their problem. Ask about their problem, reiterate your understanding of their problem. At that point you can begin your qualification process as appropriate.

    For the purposes of this blog, I am assuming you have a sales process that works, if not do not waste the money at the top and middle of the funnel until you do. There are many steps from the top, middle and end of the funnel. Missing or mismanaging even one can blow the deal. They key is to take control of the process from the very beginning and continue to to keep the prospect engaged and working through YOUR process not theirs.

    Paul Alves is CEO of AG Salesworks. To view all company blogs go to  AG Salesworks blog site.

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