Tips for Inside Sales: If Interest is the Counterfeit of Need, When is a Lead a Lead?

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When is a lead actually a lead if interest is the counterfeit of need

Having been with XANT for a few months now, I’ve gained some insight into the sales and lead generation industry. That being said, something I constantly hear around the office is the pleasant reminder that interest is not need. Interest is, in fact, the counterfeit of need. (I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard our president, Ken Krogue, say those words.)

This statement brings up an interesting question: When is a lead actually a lead and not simply an interested prospect? Here’s what I’ve gathered:

  • What is interest? I think of interest as a prospect coming for basic information and educational content. Examples of marketing assets that function in this role: whitepapers, educational webinars, research reports, educational eBooks, to name a few.  These assets are at the top of the funnel and in the nurturing stage. They should not be handed over to sales quite yet.
  • What is need? I think of need as a prospect coming to you with a problem they are highly motivated to solve. When a lead is submitted requesting pricing or product information, that lead should be contacted by a sales rep. These assets are located further down the sales funnel, where the prospect has a well defined problem and are honing in on a decision point.
  • How can you turn interest into need? Enroll these leads in a permission-based, nurturing campaign with the goal of educating that original interest through webinars, whitepapers, and research reports that move from the general to your company’s specific solution. It’s a huge waste of sales time to call on leads that have only expressed interest. If the lead is not further down the sales funnel stages a call, placed too early, could actually turn the prospect off. Keep interest leads with your marketing team.

Make sure you maximize the efficiency of your sales reps. Send the more qualified leads to sales and keep the interest leads in nurturing campaigns. By reducing the noise among the sales team, they will be freed up to focus on more qualified leads,  close more sales and ultimately grow revenue faster.  And a side benefit, less bickering between the functions – marketing and sales – and more appreciation for the job each organization does.

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