Everyone (usually marketers) complains about the failure of salespeople to follow-up leads, but marketers are just as much to blame. The excuse that “the salesperson didn’t do it” is no longer valid. A research report from Velocify proves it.[i]
Of course, this was a valid excuse prior to marketing automation’s debut, but since then, the hemming and hawing by marketers that ‘prospect follow-up is a salesperson’s job and not our job,’ is belatedly being debunked.
Yes, it was true that a salesperson’s lack of follow-up (reported to be 75%-90%) led to high marketing expenses, sales territory turnover, and high sales expenses. But now that marketing automation as a tool is cheap (low-priced, inexpensive, reasonable, and not costly), brings a measurable ROI, and is easy to administer, marketers need to quiet down and take responsibility for follow-up.
The mantra today is to create qualified leads, pass those sales-ready leads on to salespeople and then hold them accountable. This saves the salesperson time, helps them sell more efficiently, and helps manage the prospect with a real desire.
Why it Matters
“It is Marketing’s role today to go beyond filling just the top of the sales funnel. The role has changed to fill it and manage it most of the way into the funnel until prospects show from their actions and responses that they are in the Buyer’s Zone.”
The Buyer’s Zone
The Buyer’s Zone is that area of the sales process where the prospect signals that he or she is serious about need, desire or authority, budget, and time frame for purchase. Gee, I just scrambled the order of the original BANT guideline which salespeople still rely on as bellwether answers of a prospect’s intent.
Yes, there are consultants and marketers and agency EXECS who keep saying BANT is dead, and then they add three more initials to prove it.
When you ask a salesperson, however, without guiding them to an answer, what they use to determine the most qualified leads, it is some version of budget, authority, need and time frame for purchase.
When Marketing, with its marketing automation tools, from scraping the internet to, social media, telemarketing, lead generation and artificial intelligence abilities, can work prospects into the Buyer’s Zone, it has done its job, short of making the sale (which is already being done for some products).
I am not here to tell you if what you are doing is right or wrong. I am here to say it is Marketing’s choice, with the tools at its disposal, to manage more of the pipeline because the excuse that “It’s the Salesperson’s Job” left the building some time ago.