Demand Generation: Quality Trumps Quantity
Our 2013 SiriusDecisions EMEA Demand Creation survey showed some alarming statistics on the quality of leads that respondents in marketing are sending to sales. It’s the lead quality – ultimately measured by how the lead will aid sales effectiveness – that will lead to greater conversion success and a more successful win ratio.
Are your sales teams still crying out, “Give me more leads!” or has the conversation finally shifted to recognize that quantity is insignificant compared to the quality of leads delivered? It’s the lead quality – ultimately measured by how the lead will aid sales effectiveness – that will lead to greater conversion success and a more successful win ratio.
Either way, we in marketing owe it to ourselves to determine and agree with sales on what quality level of lead we can realistically be expected to forward, as well as re-examine the steps we are taking to deliver higher-quality leads to meet our service-level agreements.
Our 2013 SiriusDecisions EMEA Demand Creation survey showed some alarming statistics on the quality of leads that respondents in marketing are sending to sales. This is compounded by what seems to be a shortfall in putting in place processes such as telequalification, which could move a lead from a simple hand-raiser to a more information-rich understanding of the buyer’s current position before being passed to sales.
Our survey found that among respondents representing more than 400 organizations, more than 27 percent reported that they pass a lead forward as soon as someone “demonstrates an interest in the product or service” (read: raises a hand). In other words, nearly 30 percent of organizations conduct little, if any, further qualification.
We also found that a mere 21.5 percent of organizations qualify a lead further than simply demonstrating that the potential buyer has a need for the product or service. Thus, almost 80 percent of respondents do not determine if the potential buyer has defined a requirement or actually has a budget and timeframe in mind.
Now, this would not be such a problem if the survey respondents were all marketing a completely new product that was going to shake the market to its core. Naturally, no one would have a budget for something they did not know exists. But this leads me to the concept of demand type.
For the uninitiated, demand type is a basic building block of best practice demand creation. Sales, marketing and product management must agree on whether the product or service is one that disrupts the market (new concept), one that allows for an improvement to an existing process (new paradigm), or one that is already seen as a standard, necessary purchase (established market).
Among other things, agreement on which of the three demand types applies will guide joint discussions of what level of lead information you can realistically expect to capture before handing the lead to a receiving function. As stated, it is difficult, if not impossible, to capture a fully qualified lead with budget, authority, need and timeframe defined for a product or service that falls into the new concept demand type.
But therein lies the rub, as my friend Will Shakespeare would say. More than 40 percent of respondents indicated that they operate in an established market. Thus, we see an instant mismatch in the alignment of demand type and quality of lead achieved. Thus, although it would be reasonable to expect that more information on buyer intent could be sourced, we find that in reality, this is not happening.
The data shows that a great opportunity exists for marketing leaders to implement processes and programs that raise the quality of the leads they are passing on. So, what to do? Utilizing a teleservices function to further qualify inbound leads is certainly one area to consider.
Nowadays, the teleservices function is evolving to form a key step in ensuring that high-quality leads are delivered to sales. Yet, here again are some startling statistics: Our survey showed that only 32 percent of respondents currently employ the services of an in-house or outsourced teleprospecting function.
Our experience has proven categorically that best-in-class practice is to raise the quality level of leads entering the demand waterfall. Our survey shows that most organizations still have a lot of work to do.