Warning: Sending Unqualified Leads to Sales Is Bad for Your Health

As you may have noticed, I have become slightly addicted to Thought Leadership interviews. In the meantime, I have been jotting down ideas for posts and have come up with some great stuff. Nevertheless, my Funnelholic posts are driven by what’s happening in my life and as such, I have to revisit a topic I have written and talked about a million times: sending raw leads directly to sales.

The Funnelholic tip of the day, or even the century, is: Don’t do it.

There is so much written about this, you have to know sending unqualified leads to sales is unwise. Yet there are some people that continue to tempt fate.

As a lead vendor, if I know what a client has in place I can predict two things:

1. Their reaction to the leads.
2. The leads’ potential conversion rates.

The Funnelholic meter below can help you predict how you might react:

OK, let me start from the top:

1. Lead nurturing hopefully mixed with telequalification: I immediately know a couple  things when I get a customer with a robust lead nurturing methodology, which typically includes a marketing automation system AND telequalification: These leads will convert and sales loves them. Period. Yes these programs take money and investment, but the closer you get to this ideal, the better off your marketing and lead generation campaigns will be. As you can see, the conversion rates (lead to opportunity) are exponentially higher and despite your increased spending, your cost per opportunity can actually go DOWN.

2. Lead Qual (telequalification): If companies have telequalification properly set up, they convert leads. The lead nurturing aspect means they are still missing opportunities, as telequalification teams typically are most effective in the first three weeks of a lead’s life. The buyer’s timing does not always match yours – he or she may not be ready to talk right away – which thus generates the need for the nurturing component.  But I don’t want to discount how important it is for organizations to have this function in place because it is far better than …

3. No lead nurturing: This category essentially represents organizations that send raw leads directly to sales. This just doesn’t work as the numbers bear out and let me guess, sales is complaining about the leads or just as appalling, not following up on them.

The morale of the story is:  Passing leads directly to sales is bad for your organization’s health.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter