I hate to say this, but we know many companies that have sales teams who ignore or mismanage viable leads. In this post, we explore the reasons why and what can be done to take leads more seriously.
Lack of Trust
Many sales teams have relied on outbound efforts for their entire career. They think that cold calling, emailing, networking, trade shows, etc. are the only effective ways to generate promising leads. When inbound leads come in, they don’t trust their viability.
Sales teams need to be reminded that inbound leads coming from their B2B website are typically more sales-ready than outbound leads. Inbound leads have identified a need and have selected your company to possibly address this need. On the other hand, outbound leads may not have even identified a need yet and are just speaking to your sales team because they are persistent.
Sales teams need to shift their mindset and view inbound website leads as the highest priority since they are typically the most sales-ready and are further down the funnel.
Typical salespeople tend to be type A, extrovert personalities. They want to be viewed as a hero in the workplace. They are the revenue generators who help their company survive and be profitable. They alone are the heroes. This individualistic mentality is not conducive to working on teams.
With inbound website leads, the sales team needs to work with the B2B marketing team to identify an ideal customer profile, digital marketing tactics that are effective, and, possibly worst of all to a salesperson, share the credit of winning deals with the marketing team. This type of “hero mentality” thinking needs to stop immediately as it will only hold an organization back.
The sales team needs to change its thinking and know that marketing is there to help them be more successful. If the relationship is managed successfully, the sales team can and will make more money.
There can be terrible commission structures in place that demotivate salespeople from performing desired actions. In many companies, sales teams can be rewarded more for outbound sales wins versus inbound sales wins. If a company wants the sales team to prioritize inbound leads, equal or superior rewards need to be implemented.
Organizations need to examine their commission structure and ensure that inbound sales wins are rewarded properly.
Read more: Your B2B website and sales – a dynamic duo.
Mismanaged resources are the most common problem in sales departments. Organizations can have 50+ hungry outbound salespeople performing outbound sales activities. Yet, when it comes to inbound sales leads, they have a non-salesperson handling these leads. Someone like the office manager or receptionist who does not have the training, experience or resources to effectively nurture leads and build a case of credibility.
In any organization where inbound leads are a high priority, there needs to be a dedicated inside sales team that receives as much training and resources as the outbound team. Inside sales often differ from outbound sales and typically requires a different skill set and personality.
Inbound vs Outbound
In conclusion, when determining how to balance inbound and outbound resources, an organization needs to examine its closed deals and sales pipeline. How is the sales revenue spilt between the two? If the revenue is split 50/50, there should be an even distribution of resources between inbound and outbound efforts. If inbound has never been a priority, maybe that’s why inbound leads never close. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy!
Just remember that inbound leads are typically more sales-ready, cost less to acquire, and close more quickly.