If you work in the lead generation sector of the B2B marketing world, there’s one thing you’ve likely already heard from sales. “The leads are weak!”
It’s a common complaint among salespeople. It’s common because it’s convenient. Once you present them the B2B leads, the onus is on them to generate customers. When they are unable to convert, it’s easy to funnel blame back to marketing.
If you’ve gotten this “feedback” before and it’s left you feeling confused and even a little gaslit, you’re not alone.
The first step is to recognize that most of the time, it’s sales deflecting and your performance isn’t lacking. Do not lose confidence in yourself.
Then, it’s time to push back. It’s an opportunity to educate. Whether the salesperson in question is simply inexperienced or unwilling to put in the work, there are some points you can raise to determine the truth behind their claim.
When you’re confronted with the accusation of weak B2B leads, don’t back down right away. First, ask questions and get to the heart of the matter. The reality is that a lot of salespeople are anxious for the quick sale – they want instant gratification (and commission!).
These “right now” leads exist but are few and far between. Too often, they demand more of these leads while failing to nurture the ones that only need some attention to make the sale.
The following questions call upon basic sales techniques and best practices.
- How many times have you called?
It’s sales common sense that you must call more than once. And yet, so many times salespeople complain that the lead went dark after a successful first call. Leads require consistent calling and follow up. You may not connect the first time or the first ten times. Keep calling until you can connect in a meaningful dialog.
- Did you make the next steps clear?
Potential customers don’t want to chase you down or look up how to get back in touch. At some point during a conversation, you need to outline clear and concrete next steps.The next steps can be anything from downloading information to setting up a consultation, but you must communicate them. Master tip: communicate them verbally on the call, then send a follow-up email communicating clear next steps in writing. Make it easy for them.
- Did you follow up on the next steps?
Once again, the follow-up is key. If they took your next steps and don’t get back in touch – always follow up again. There’s no excuse for not making a simple follow-up call.
- Did you read the lead notes and stay in service to their needs?
There’s a lot of room here for a sales call to go astray and scare the lead off. The B2B lead generation process determines what this lead needs, what their challenges and priorities are.You must keep things focused on these needs, regardless of what they are. Sales can become tempted to run with an upsell or redirect to a different product with a higher commission. This is useless if the lead has no need for what you’re proposing.People are tired of being “sold” to. Stay in service to the prospective customer. When they see you are in service to them, they are so much more likely to want to do business with you.
- Did you focus the conversation on a relevant solution?
You must present the lead with a relevant and useful solution to the needs they have. You can talk all day about the products and services you have available. But at some point, you must tie it into what they’re looking for.They may not know how or why your product suits their specific needs, and you need to tell them. This often goes beyond basic descriptors, specs, and features. This is where salespeople must know their products and insert them into the customer’s personal situation and experience.
- Did you send a calendar link?
Lastly, have you made it easy to stay in touch? You must always send the all-important calendar link so they can stay on your schedule. If you are playing phone tag or haven’t been able to connect, email them your calendar link to make it easy to schedule 10-15 minutes on your calendar to be able to connect.
The Bottom Line
When sales report that a lead went dark after one call, it most often boils down to one of two main issues: a weak pitch or inadequate follow-up – or both.
Hopefully, there’s enough ammo here for you to turn the conversation around and put the responsibility back where it belongs. Ideally, you’ll inspire sales to do better and put in more effort. If nothing else, this line of questioning shows that you will push back and hold them accountable to lead follow-up.