Why You Shouldn’t Buy Your Sales Qualified Leads From Leads-R-Us
If you talk to most lead generation companies, you would get the sense that what they are selling to you is a mere commodity that you can simply put in your requirements and they will send you a list that is perfect for your needs. The problem with this easy solution is that truly sales qualified leads are NOT so abundantly available that you can run out to your local Lead-Mart and pick up as many as you need.
Many lead generation companies like to call their lead sales qualified, but in reality, they are nothing more than a name and number, and often even that information is not accurate. What they are selling you is a suspect, as opposed to a prospect, and definitely not a qualified lead.
What Is the Difference between a Suspect and a Sales Qualified Lead?
Just because you have someone’s name and phone number does not mean that they are a sales qualified lead. In addition, just because they came to your website, looked at a blog, or maybe downloaded a white paper, does not make them sales qualified lead.
The part that all these suspects are missing is buying intent. If they do not show any form of intent to solve a problem that you can help them with, they are nothing more than a suspect. Suspects do not become prospects until they have started to show behavior that demonstrates they are looking to solve a problem that you can help them with.
What is the Difference between a Prospect and a Sales Qualified Lead?
Notice that I said they become prospects at this point and not sales qualified leads. That is because even at this point all they have shown is intent, not the actual ability to buy. This is often where many companies miss the mark. Even at this stage, they are not qualified, because a true sales qualified lead also needs to be in an active buying mode with the ability to make the decision.
When I think about generating sales qualified leads, I think about my law classes back in high school. It’s like the difference between mens rea and actus reus. Prospects are mens rea where they may be able to buy but they have not demonstrated any intent. True sales qualified leads are actus reus and that they are actively planning how to solve a problem that you can help them with.
How to Convert Prospects to Sales Qualified Leads
While lead scoring, and mapping your content to the stages of your customer buying process can be a great indicator of buying intent, the best way I have found to find this out is to ask them. This is a big reason why most companies should develop a converged sales and marketing process. This means having an agent call the prospect and start the dialogue with them about what they are looking for. Due to the busy schedules of many strategic sales people, they don’t have the time or desire to make this call in a timely manner. By having an inside sales agent make this call, you get a great opportunity to start to BANT qualify a prospect (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline) and see if they are needing further nurturing or are ready to speak to one of your sales people.
The Bottom Line
Turning contacts into sales qualified leads is hard work. It’s not something you can simply go to your local Lead-Mart and pick up like a box of staples or a bunch of pens. Developing sales qualified leads takes a great deal of planning and work. If someone tries to tell you it’s easy, and tries to sell you sales leads like a common commodity, run, run fast, and run far. Like my mother always told me, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
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