Are marketing’s leads really not qualified or just not ready to buy?


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I speak with sales reps and their customers every day about what prevented buyers from investing in solutions that were a perfect match for their needs. Sales reps tell me that the lead wasn’t qualified and buyers tell me that they just weren’t ready to buy – yet!

Not Qualified or Just Not Ready to Buy

When I ask the reps how they handle buyers that aren’t ready to buy, it isn’t clear that they have a strategy to deal with this situation. And it seems to me, that the reps are asking all the right questions, at the wrong time or with the wrong person and the answers they’re getting back are causing the reps to immediately reject or disqualify many of marketing’s leads. And in most cases, prematurely.

Premature Lead Rejection

How will your reps know if a lead might be a really good prospect that’s still working through some internal issues to get approval to fund a project? What if the buyer can’t answer the reps qualifying questions accurately or completely because they’re just not ready to buy?

How will the reps know what’s going on behind-the-scenes before they end up rejecting a potentially good marketing lead?

Sales management expect the reps to qualify the prospect when they call to discuss the buyers needs. The reps tell me that it’s difficult to qualify a self-educated buyer where there’s been little or no prior contact with the prospect. Buyers tell me that many of the calls they receive from sales reps are uncomfortable and confusing and that most conversations usually start slow and end fast.

96% of Leads are stuck on How to Buy NOT What to Buy

It’s early days and most prospects are stuck on how to buy NOT what to buy. And until they recognize and understand all of the internal issues that they’ll need to resolve, they’re not going to be able to buy anything. They’re just not ready to buy!

What’s stopping the reps from helping the prospect that’s not ready to buy to understand where they may be stuck internally and work with them to get the right voices on the decision team, so that they can determine the change criteria that’s going to drive the decision whether or not to fund a project?

The problem, of course, is that the reps have quarterly targets to achieve and they really don’t have the time to waste working every lead, prospect or self-educated buyer through their own internal decision-making process. And if the lead information that they’re getting doesn’t help the reps to understand what’s driving the buyer’s internal decisions, you can begin to understand why many of these lead follow-up calls end so quickly.

Buyers are Evaluating Themselves NOT Your Solution

These buyers might be willing to buy but they’re just not ready – yet! At this early stage, they’re evaluating themselves and their ability to withstand the pressure of changing. They’re not evaluating solutions!

Their struggle has nothing to do with their needs or your solution and continuing to push product information or challenge their actions and behaviors isn’t likely to help them make those internal decisions any faster. And in many cases, it just causes resistance as you push against their status quo!

Whatever is holding the status quo in place is way more powerful than any solution you can offer.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the reps don’t know how to engage with buyers early (those that are not ready to buy) because these decisions are never revealed in an active sales situation. They’ve never been exposed to the early problems that buyers are wrestling with or how they make their decisions to fund a project. If you want to know what issues buyers are struggling with and how they’re making decisions, you need to talk to your recent buyers.

Real Insight, No Guessing and it’s FREE

What’s stopping you from contacting some of your recent wins, losses and no decision deals to understand all of the ins and outs of the necessary decisions that your buyers had to make and how they got the decision team to buy-in to funding a project?

If you want to find out what internal issues your prospects are wrestling with and how they make their decisions, you need to talk to recent buyers.

Marketing can use the decision insights from recent buyers to create content to help your prospects (not yet ready to buy) to recognize all of the internal issues they’ll need to manage before they’ll be able to get buy-in. And help them make their own decisions faster than if they plod along independently.

Sales can use the insights to understand all of the behind-the-scenes issues involved in a prospects early decisions that they’ll need to discuss when they follow-up on a marketing lead.

If marketing can help your prospects to understand where they are along their decision path and what they’ll need to manage internally to get buy-in and the reps can determine what’s holding them back, then the reps can focus their initial lead follow-up call on the criteria for change that’s going to drive the internal decisions whether or not to fund a project.

And that should make for a far more interesting and helpful call for both the buyer and seller.


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