Lead Follow-up: The Challenge of Online Lead Generation

In many companies, Sales complains that they don’t get enough leads from Marketing, and Marketing complains that Sales doesn’t follow up on the leads they are given. It almost sounds like the beginning of a joke. Unfortunately, many lead generation campaigns fail because no one follows up on the good leads that are generated.

Lead Follow-up: the link between Sales and Marketing

Lead Follow-up: the link between Sales and Marketing

In my fantasy, Marketing hands Sales all the leads they can handle and Sales follows up on every single lead, closing every opportunity. Everyone is happy, and everyone makes lots of money. The problems begin when you have expectations like mine.

Because of performance pressure, Marketing tends to send weak leads to Sales. Sales often doesn’t follow up because the leads are weak, saying it’s a waste of time. However, when a well planned and executed lead generation campaign is conducted by Marketing, quality leads will be the result. The leads must be segmented as quickly as possible by Marketing so that they can be passed on to Sales while they are still “hot”. Sales must be prepared to follow up on with these leads within 24 hours to reap the full benefits of the campaign. There is nothing worse than wasting a good lead. Sales must follow up on the leads promptly, before they get cold. That means they need to trust that they will get good leads, and that they will take the time to act on them. Marketing must communicate to Sales about the current campaigns and give guidance on how to follow up on the leads.

It’s important to think of lead generation as a funnel (see Understanding the Online Lead Generation Funnel). In a typical marketing funnel, the best 5% of marketing contacts are strong enough sales prospects to passed to Sales. The next 10% are close, but not quite fully baked. Marketing should monitor those 10% and pass contacts that are from marquis customers to Sales, and continue to cultivate the others. For example, if your company produces drink production equipment a lead from Coca Cola should be passed to sales.

Lastly, Marketing should track the follow-up. Marketing needs to track leads through the marketing funnel, then through the sales funnel and then through the lifetime of the customer. The lifetime value of a lead is the true measure of the success of marketing campaigns the marketing organization.

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