There is a lot of talk about how we can use the opportunity with digital channels to create what has become so popular lately – leads. I would guess that there are few of us who work with marketing and sales who do not recognize the word leads. Like so many other trends I have written about here on the blog, neither is anything new, especially not for sellers. Leads we have been talking about since ancient times and historically we have also been able to associate two things to leads – far too few and useless.
So, has anything changed today about how we used to be with our low-quality leads or the fact that there were a few pieces a week that no seller cared about? No, it’s not that big a difference today. I could refer to another blog post I wrote a while ago about how we use LinkedIn as a seller (tip: it’s not a good way) here. In this post, I talk about the same challenge we have when it comes to creating good leads that support us in our sales.
The challenge is that we have the tools and conditions that allow us to create so many more leads than ever before. The challenge then, what do you think? Yes, because it is a challenge when we now have the opportunity to exponentially increase the number of unthinkable, unclear, without target-planned leads using systems. In the exact same way as a salesperson who talks about himself and his company, through the megaphone we call LinkedIn, so many more customers reach with their self-centered message.
Different levels of leads
For those of you who have tried to start working with Inbound Marketing and for those of you who are sellers and do not understand all these abbreviations, I apologize on behalf of everyone. Of course, there is a benefit in segmenting leads into different levels and you who speak the Inbound language know these I just mentioned. But in reality, it’s just about having unqualified or qualified leads. In fact, for a customer, we have just recommended removing everything before Q in the lead. No (M) QL, no (S) QL, etc. We think a lead is qualified or it’s not. Easy huh? And that’s exactly what I strive for every day – that everything should be as simple as possible. So what do you think about the following:
A lead can be created by the marketing department or the sales department – it can be analog or digital
A qualified lead is just that – qualified – and it doesn’t matter who created it, sell or market
A booked meeting is what was previously called both SQL and SAL (different definitions of the same thing but different companies)
If we assume that the above is correct (which is if you ask me – there is a lot of data and customer dialogues behind this), then we can conclude that the part of your sales process where you create business opportunities that lie on the sales board starts when a lead becomes qualified. In addition, it will be much easier to measure against this and at the same time link to compensation and commissions. By the way, did you know that marketers are now starting to get commission linked to sales? So it is, at least with the customers we work with, this is frequently discussed.
Who is responsible for creating leads?
The marketing department creates MQLs that become SQLs and then SALs. After that, a salesperson will book a meeting and then we will lose the deal. Typically, one could say that it all too often looks at the companies that have applied Inbound Marketing and gone all-in on this. Also, read in the following post why going all-in on Inbound Marketing is wrong. We start over instead and try to think a little new:
Creating leads is a shared responsibility between marketers and sellers. By this I do not mean that sellers and marketers should do the same – we have different skills and we should focus on what we do well. An example is that sellers should not write a mail or other content for the purpose of creating value for customers – help is needed from the people at the company whose job it is to communicate value to their customers.
On the other hand, following up on customers and prospects via telephone and mail, as well as other channels, lies on the seller – or more correctly.
But if sellers should call and email, and close the deal – then the job of the marketers is clear when the seller is in contact with a lead, right? That’s the way it works with Inbound Marketing. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Marketers have a big task even during the rest of the customer’s buying journey. Here are some examples of what salespeople and marketers should focus on:
Creating value-creating content (marketers)
- Email customers and post on social media (sellers with the material they receive from marketers)
- Search the Sales Navigator for “the ideal customer profile” and from there find the right contacts to initiate a dialogue with (salesperson)
- Develop the content to be used for this communication (marketer together with the seller)
- Be sure to drive the business forward in the sales process and not “lose” the customer (the seller)
- In combination with the seller’s dialogue with the customer, communicate and strengthen the brand (marketer)