Lead Generation Best Practices Part 6: Fewer Leads Are Better

There is a counter-intuitive relationship between lead volume and sales performance.

With sales organizations facing lower numbers, it seems logical to turn to volume lead generation to fill their pipelines with more and more sales leads in hopes that some will turn into sales. After all, shouldn’t more leads deliver more opportunities?

In reality, just the opposite often turns out to be true. Standard lead generation’s focus on quantity—rather than quality—results in the following:

  • The pipeline is flooded with a high volume of low-value leads.
  • Qualifying criteria are rarely met due to lack of marketing resources.
  • Sales reps’ calendars are cluttered with unqualified meetings.
  • Money is wasted on sales lead generation programs that don’t work.

Sales reps actually need fewer sales leads—or more accurately, fewer raw, unfiltered, unqualified marketing leads. Conversely, they need carefully qualified leads that have been correctly developed until they are ready to be delivered as high-value qualified sales opportunities.

By focusing sales resources on a smaller number of better quality leads, they can spend time more effectively on the most likely buyers. Such a practice makes sense in any economic climate, but in our current market downturn it can be a way to actually improve efficiency and do more with fewer resources. This also renews the value of lead generation programs, since reps start receiving leads they can actually use.

Best-of-class prospect development—and its focus on fewer, higher qualified sales leads—fills forecasts with sales-ready buyers and helps marketing and sales resources operate more efficiently. In the end, it means great return on program investments and higher company revenue.

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2 Responses to Lead Generation Best Practices Part 6: Fewer Leads Are Better

  1. Peter Nguyen October 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Good point! Sales should be focused on closing sales and spend their time with leads that are more ready to buy.

    For leads that are not ready to buy, they require more nurturing. And this should be marketing’s responsibility. To nurture the leads and move them down the funnel, marketing should be sending them content such as white papers, video demos, price comparisons, etc.

  2. Charles November 12, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    I was just introduced to a couple of new terms that have been recently been coined in our industry. I believe this is the difference between between “inbound” and “outbound” marketing. Generally for the same money spent creating a marketing campaign that delivers qualified leads that come to you vs. advertising to the masses with little or no return.

    We recently were exhibitors at a local Art Show. The booth next to us had two types of product for sale. One product line was moving and the other was not. After the first day we went and did our homework. What we found was amazing. The company had created a website that displayed all the products that were not moving at the show and had no trace of the one single product that was selling like hotcakes. After pointing a few things to them, they are now on the right track.

    Here in this case the business had a perfect venue to market a product but where basically advertising a product fore sale. They had an opportunity to continue the marketing process with visitors who had made purchases and had no lead capturing in place. The husband and wife team had a great product and a good pitch. Here they had qualified leads through purchases for potential future purchases and had no vehicle in place i.e.; no website to promote future sales. The business cards they were handing out were designed to promote the non-selling products. We see this a lot. Perfectly good potential to market a product and no plan going into the market place.

    My note to our viewers here, make damm sure when you put your marketing plans together, all the pieces work. Make a flow chart and document the process. If the small quantity of sales leads that are generated hit a dead end due to a bad link in an email that is sent out or a “OPPS” page not found because the webmaster forgot to create the page is time and money wasted.