Ending the blame game between sales and marketing with targeted lead generation

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A database marketing campaign that does not utilize targeted lead generation can appear to be successful when it produces a huge sales lead list. However, months later, the impact on revenue is likely to be disappointing. Finger-pointing goes in both directions, with the marketing department complaining that the sales department doesn't follow up properly on the sales lead list it was given, and the sales department grumbling about the quality of the prospects generated.

Who's to blame? For most companies, the fault lies somewhere in the middle. True opportunities are out there, but without a targeted lead-generation process of qualification and nurturing, they get mixed in with a much larger volume of low-quality, so called leads. Sales executives - who are concerned with quotas and commissions - become frustrated by having to wade through a sales lead list composed of so many unqualified leads in order to find the real ones. Pretty soon, they stop following up altogether.

In fact, the absence of targeted lead-generation and -qualification processes to identify and prioritize the best prospects is a major part of the gap that exists between sales and marketing today. Companies can successfully bridge this gap by abandoning their focus on producing a large-volume sales lead list, and moving their focus instead to lead quality.

A major mind shift

Practicing targeted lead generation, which produces quality sales opportunities and not low-level leads, is more difficult than it sounds. Most companies measure the success of marketing programs on the number of leads generated, and not on whether those leads convert into sales. Conversely, the sales function is judged by the revenue it produces from the sales lead list it is given.

Do you see the dilemma?

Here is a truth: Using targeted lead generation to bring in fewer, but better-qualified sales opportunities leads to greater sales performance. When sales executives are presented with a sales lead list comprised of a smaller number of highly qualified sales opportunities - instead of a stack of low-quality "leads" - they're able to better focus their efforts and give high-value prospects priority attention.

Consider, for example, your last database marketing campaign. Like most companies, did you simply scrub down your sales lead list and then target all the names? The reality is that only a fraction of those names actually warrant investment. By using targeted lead generation and taking steps to identify and target the highest-return segments - those prospects most likely to buy your product or service - it is possible to achieve more profitable sales in a timely manner and at a lower cost.

Stop the disconnect

Are your sales and marketing organizations playing tug of war over a chasm, with your company's revenue lying at the bottom? If so, you need to close that gap with targeted lead generation.

Changing the focus from lead quantity to lead quality represents a seismic shift in the way most companies operate. However, it is essential for realigning marketing objectives more closely with sales and putting your company on the path to greater revenue performance.

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