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I was presenting The Cold Call is Dead Part 2 webinar yesterday and I noticed an interesting question flash by on the audience questions box. Well, it wasn’t actually a question it was a comment. A conclusion actually. Roughly it said “marketing generates all the leads and sales closes them”.
But not reality from most of the companies I’ve ever seen. Yeah, it’s great if you’re a sales guy in a company with a kick-ass marketing department that is generating tons of quality leads (I’m talking about quality leads not lists of people who dropped the biz card in the fish bowl at the last trade show to win a Wii for their kids). All you ever do is follow up on warm leads.
This is an awesome situation. I’m all for it to tell you the truth. I’m a big fan of the Inbound Marketing Movement driven by Hubspot and David Meerman Scott. A big fan. They are showing small and medium businesses all over the world how to do marketing right. How to generate tons of inbound leads. Many of which are sales ready. And those of which are not can be nurtured by awesome techniques that my friend Brian Carroll has been telling marketing folks about for the last decade.
It’s smashing if you’re marketing department is up to snuff on all this stuff and are grooving like Hubspot’s own marketing team is. They work hand-in-hand with their sales team and generate boat loads of quality leads for their sales team to close. Awesome.
But that’s the Disneyland of sales right now. That’s not how it is in the vast majority of companies I hear about. In the vast majority of places marketing passes sales some leads. And some of these leads are way old and most of them are not qualified. The Inbound Marketing Movement is new. Lead Nurturing is still young. 80% of leads are still lost between marketing and sales.
And even if you’re marketing team is super cool, there are still situations where you need to prospect. What about your target accounts in your territory? Are you penetrating all the divisions in them you should? Are you meeting with all the executives you need to (note: from MarketingSherpa’s research for a tech product over $25k in a Fortune 1000 company there are 21 (twenty one) people involved in buying over there – that’s 21 people you should be finding and meeting – or a good sample of them at least).
Are you going to wait for your marketing department to send an email or mail campaign to all those 21 execs and all those divisions you need to get to? Or are your marketing team so “simpatico” that they will sit with you and feed in the names of those 21 execs in each of your target accounts into their next campaign?
My take is marketing is great (I was in marketing and still am as a small business owner). But I don’t see the scenario where a company can depend only on marketing without sales prospecting. My view is that sales people need to take the responsibility to get out their and prospect and all the quality leads they get from marketing are “gravy”.
Certainly marketing departments all over the world are getting their act together realizing that marketing is about driving leads to sales and working with sales in closed loop environment to close business. They are figuring out driving “brand image” and all that kind of warm and fuzzy stuff is not going to keep you your marketing job for too long (especially in a worldwide recession).
But this is not a one-legged team. As marketing improves its game and generates more quality leads then sales cannot sit around and expect money to fall from the sky. Sales people need to learn better prospecting techniques (yes, Social Calling is one).
My take or us sales people: love thy marketing brother but heal thyself first. But what do you think? Comment below and/or take this informal poll to see what other sales people are doing.