As lead qualification and prospect development have never been as important as they are now, a question arises. Should the tasks of lead qualification and lead nurturing be assigned to marketing teams or sales representatives?
Marketing is incented to generate and pass to sales high volumes of contacts as quickly as possible. Marketing’s success generates hundreds and thousands of these names, but very few are fully qualified as sales-ready buyers. Overwhelmed by the volume, marketing falls back on inbound initiatives for “nurturing” until prospects self-qualify as worthy of sales’ attention. Without the resources and skill sets to properly qualify and nurture prospects, sales is flooded with unqualified leads that waste time and dollars. Lead qualification and prospect development processes are too complex and time consuming to use marketing resources focused on high volumes.
Sales reps don’t have the time or incentive to contact, qualify and nurture all the names passed from high-volume marketing programs. When there is sales contact, it tends to be infrequent, brief and haphazard as sales reps want to focus on closing fully qualified opportunities deep in the pipeline. And when reps don’t follow up, the contact—who will buy at some point in the future—falls into that bottomless gap between marketing and sales…magically reappearing months later as a closed deal for a competitor. The sales cycle is too long and sales resources are too valuable to use developing mid- and long-term prospects.
Successful lead qualification and lead nurturing require dedicated resources with deep expertise in building relationships and moving prospects to fully qualified status. These dedicated resources can be either an inside sales team or an outsourced lead generation services provider. Both share a core approach with use of the telephone and proven teleprospecting skills to perform the tasks that neither sales nor marketing can or should take on: managing responses, qualifying leads, engaging prospects and nurturing opportunities.
Best-in-class sales organizations that leverage dedicated resources using a teleprospecting methodology stand out. How? According to one well-known industry analyst, they consistently achieve 90 percent of their sales team quota; they experience at least a 10 percent year-over-year increase in average revenue per sales rep; and they gain an average 7 percent year-over-year improvement in their bid-to-win ratio.