At least part of the blame lies with inbound marketing. If you have a great offer or message, you may get too many leads. Think quality over quantity. That’s where testing the right offer/message at the right time to the correct audience becomes so important. Test, test, test.
If you have leads that are less than ideal, they will not be followed up with properly (a big problem in most lead generation programs anyway) and the good prospects will become frustrated and the sales people will lose faith in your marketing because you are providing “bad” leads to them.
I have seen this countless times. With all this inbound marketing it’s actually become worse, because we can generate a greater number of leads faster than ever before, exasperating the divide between sales and marketing.
To begin, make sure you have a follow-up process in place that works as hard, hopefully harder, in closing the sale once you have the lead, and do not forget you should test here as well. Why spend all this money generating leads and then giving the follow up nothing more than an afterthought? Once someone raises their hand, the real selling should begin.
As mentioned, it’s rare that your inbound will close the sales loop. That’s where an email, direct mail piece, phone call or sales visit becomes key, especially in a B2B setting, which make up most lead generation efforts.
Ideally you want to have both sales and marketing collaborate prior to the campaign taking place. In most cases, the personality types of the two positions differ and it makes good business sense to make sure each party understands expectations and roles from the onset.
Keep in mind that even with inbound, you need some sort of outbound marketing effort to turn the engagement into matrimony. Those that do, and test their efforts to determine maximum ROI, will become the relationships that last the longest.