Different B2B firms approach lead geneneration very differently. At some places, lead gen is strictly a marketing function. At others, sales or sales ops handles the task, and sometimes it is a shared responsibility.
No matter how your firm is structured, sales ops needs to be involved in lead gen.
In today’s online world, most customers are doing a whole lot of research on their own before they ever contact a salesperson. Like it or not, they are usually 60 to 70 percent of the way through the sales process when sales first speaks with them. By that time, they already have opinions and perceptions that are going to shape their interactions with your company.
Improving the lead gen process is one of the surest ways to improve your sales. The sooner you can reach prospects with your most effective sales messages, the more likely it is that they will continue through the funnel and eventually make a purchase.
But if lead gen is controlled by another group, they may not immediately welcome your input. You definitely don’t want to start a turf war; instead, think in terms of starting a conversation. You’re looking for an excuse for sales ops to be involved in lead gen in a small way. Once the other department sees that your group’s capabilities can be helpful, they will probably feel less threatened and start seeking out your help on other projects.
Here are five questions you might ask to help get a conversation started:
- Could the qualification hurdles in lead gen process actually be scaring good leads away? If you ask prospects for their name and contact information too soon, they may not download the content that you really want to get into their hands. Some simple A/B testing can help you figure out whether waiting until further in the qualification process could improve the number of qualified leads that get to sales.
- Does the marketing content line up with the messages that are actually working in sales? If you have data that shows which sales messages are most effective, you absolutely need to share that information with marketing or whichever group handles lead gen content. By aligning the messages, you’ll likely improve both the number and quality of the leads being passed on to sales.
- Are we relying too much on passive in-bound mechanisms for new leads to be finding us? In recent years, in-bound and content marketing have become all the rage, but even the best in-bound approaches can benefit from some out-bound support. A simple analysis of where your leads are originating could be a valuable tool in starting a conversation with sales and marketing.
- Are we truly cultivating leads? Or are we just regularly pinging them hoping that they’re finally ready? Pestering leads with emails and phone calls isn’t lead cultivation—it’s just annoying. If your firm doesn’t have a formal process for moving qualified leads through the sales funnel, it’s time for sales ops to get involved in setting up a repeatable procedure that works. Over time, you can tweak and optimize that process to improve the number of sales you close.
- Are we engaging with leads early enough in the process to influence their decision? As we already mentioned, most of your sales process is taking place before leads engage with sales personnel. You need to make sure you have enough materials available to them—without a gate—that you can shape their early perceptions about what kind of product they will eventually need.
Once you get those conversations started, make sure you’re prepared to have an in-depth discussion about lead generation. If you could use a refresher, check out these webinars:
- Avoiding Costly Mistakes in B2B Lead Generation
- Attracting & Capturing Better Leads
- How to Identify & Target Your Best Prospects
- Creating Compelling Content
Avoiding Costly Mistakes in B2B Lead Generation
Finding ways to improve lead quality and quantity can be a target that's constantly moving. This recorded training session exposes our latest research, highlights common lead generation challenges and what some B2B companies are doing to overcome them.
Attracting and Capturing Better Leads
Isn't it frustrating when sales gets the blame for poor performance when the quality of leads is the real problem. In this on-demand webinar, learn about a number of strategies and tactics for maximizing the quantity, quality, and value of your sales leads.
How to Identify & Target Your Best Prospects
Every year, B2B sales and marketing teams waste millions of dollars and thousands of hours desperately chasing the wrong business. In this on-demand webinar, learn about two methods for making targeting decisions that can improve every aspect of your performance, all at once!