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The 4 Warning Signs Of Bad Lead-itis

By Jon Miller

Countless companies end up with poor sales-marketing alignment because they suffer from Bad Lead-itis.

This crippling disease can destroy marketing's credibility, waste demand generation dollars, and damage your company's brand reputation.

It is important to learn to recognize these four signs of Bad Lead-itis. If you notice that you suffer from any of these, be sure to check with a lead management professional.

1. Your Prospects Lie to You

Prospects know that if they fill out a registration form to get to content, then they'll get an phone call or email from the company. If that prospect is still early in her buying cycle, she doesn't want the contact but she does want the content. She's likely to give you bogus information, perhaps "accidentally" mistyping her phone number or perhaps lying outright. (The single most common name entered into Web-generated databases is Mickey Mouse.)

Sridhar Ramanathan from Pacifica Group has an excellent article describing this problem. He explains that the core of the issue is that buyers and sellers have conflicting objectives: buyers want to avoid unwanted sales calls while sellers want to know everything about the prospect, buyers want lots of options while sellers want to close the deal as fast as possible. His advice: set your content free, then slowly build a relationship with prospects over time.

2. You Don't Recognize The People You Already Know

Imagine going on a second date with someone, and needing to repeat all the initial "get to know you" small talk from the first date because your companion forgot everything you said. I bet there wouldn't be a third date!

The same applies to online marketing. Once a prospect takes the time (and risk) to give you personal information, she expects you to remember it. Next time she comes to your website, you should remember what she already told you. This creates a great opportunity to get to know her better by asking additional questions (only a few at a time). As a way to learn about prospects, this progressive technique is much more realistic that forcing prospects to fill out a long, intrusive form right off the bat.

Low Rate eCommerce & Retail Plans

3. Your Sales People Ignore You

The typical sales organization ignores up to 80% of marketing leads. One sales rep explains why:

"When you say the word 'Lead,' my blood pressure goes up and I start getting really excited. Then I immediately get depressed. Oh, they're not talking about leads at all. They're only talking about inquiries." (From MarketingSherpa's B2B Demand Generation Summit.)

The vast majority of the visitors on your website want to research your product and your industry, usually very early in the buying process. They probably don't have budget or a project yet, and are still trying to evaluate whether they even have a need. They want to keep control of the process and fear they will lose that control if a quota-hungry sales rep gets involved.

The way to build a relationship with these prospects is to let them educate themselves. This B2B marketing process, called lead nurturing, consists of making informative whitepapers, seminars, case studies, and demos available to the prospect. The goal is to earn the permission to stay in touch and progressively deepen the relationship so that when the prospect does become "sales ready", she will want to engage with your firm. I can pretty much guarantee that your sales reps won't ignore such a high-qualified opportunity.

Continue reading this article.

About the Author:
Jon has over 11 years of experience helping marketers with innovative technology solutions. He is current VP Marketing and co-founder of Marketo, a provider of easy to use on-demand marketing automation solutions that help B2B marketers drive and track revenue. Before co-founding Marketo, Jon was a vice president at Epiphany, where since 1999 he led overall product strategy and direction for Epiphany's industry leading marketing automation applications. He has also worked as a CRM strategist at Exchange Partners and as a strategic consultant for Gemini Consulting. Jon graduated Magna Cum Laude in Physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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