Bounce Back from Lead Rejection


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Is your sales organization still rejecting too many of the leads forwarded on by marketing? Sounds like you may need a better way to qualify leads and agree on what constitutes a lead worthy of forwarding tos sales.If you want to get serious about lead management, there are three things marketing and sales should hash out together.

1. Behaviorally define each stage in the buying pipeline. When marketing, sales and management all speak the same language regarding opportunities in the pipeline, everyone can work together to nurture those opportunities that are the most promising in order to boost sales and revenue. Creating a glossary of standard terms for what your company considers a contact, suspect, lead, qualified lead, prospect, and so forth will go a long way toward reducing ambiguity and confusion. The best way to do this is to outline the customer buying process based on observable behaviors and then map these behaviors to the appropriate opportunity stage. Once you complete and validate the behaviors and stages, create and publish an opportunity pipeline glossary that documents how your company defines each stage.

2. Establish a set of behavioral criteria that everyone agrees signals that an opportunity is qualified and sales worthy. Now that you’ve completed this step, you can use the process to establish the criteria for a qualified lead. A key part of your qualification should be the opportunity score leads to better prioritize the leads the sales team should focus on first. Qualifying and scoring leads ensures the sales team doesn’t waste time and energy on leads that may not come to fruition.

3. Develop a lead scoring methodology and process for how to disposition leads within each scoring range.The concept of opportunity or lead scoring is relatively simple. Essentially you assign points based on how well an opportunity meets each of your qualification criteria. To create your scoring method you will want to make a list of all the buying behaviors as well as a list of all the characteristics of an ideal customer. This way you can assess an opportunity both in terms of the conversion potential as well as fit.

To illustrate this idea let’s say you score some of the behaviors and fit as follows:


a) In a target vertical where we have domain expertise – 5 points
b) In a target vertical but we don’t have domain expertise – 3 points
c) Not in a target vertical – 0 points
d) Our product is ideally suited to solve their problem – 5 points
e) Our product will solve their problem with some customization – 3 points
f) Our product will not solve their problem without a major investment on our part – 0 points


• Meeting held with decision maker – 5 points
• Meeting held with recommender – 3 points
• Meeting held with influencer – 1 point
• Provided product specification and buying criteria – 5 points
• Indicated they are funded – 5 points
• Indicated budget is approved – 3 points
• Contacted references – 5 points
• Requested references – 1 point
• Participated in on-site demo – 5 points
• Participated in online demo – 1 point

Create this type of point assignment process for all of the behaviors. Then add up all the points and establish a point and criteria threshold for which opportunities are worthy of passing to the Sales team. For example, qualified leads must be at least 20 points and must include at a minimum the following behaviors indicated they are funded, participated in on-site demo, and are in a target vertical.

At this step, Sales agrees to accept that opportunities who exhibit meet the criteria and point threshold and Marketing agrees to only pass those opportunities. The final step to discuss as a team is what to do with those opportunities at various stages in the pipeline so that they are appropriately nurtured.

Laura Patterson
Laura Patterson is a recognized and trusted authority for enabling companies to take a customer-centric outcome-based approach to organic growth through the use analytics, accountability, alignment, and operational excellence. Laura's 25+ year career spans a variety of management roles and industries. Today she is at the helm of VisionEdge Marketing, founded in 1999, and is among the pioneers in MPM. She has a patent for the Accelance® framework designed to connect activities and investment to business results and has published four books, most recently Fast-Track Your Business.


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