We’ve all been there. We bust our asses to find good leads from the best lead gen providers, hand them over to sales with pride, and feel our stomachs sink when sales rejects some of them. When this happens — if you’re like me — you might wonder what you did wrong. You might also look for someone to blame, whether that’s you, sales, or your lead generation company.
It is possible your lead gen partner sent you bad leads, but before you conclude this, it’s a good idea to review the expectations marketing and sales have around the leads you receive.
1. Understand how to manage your leads
First things first, you should have at least a rough idea of how the leads you purchased will convert. You’re never going to know for certain what kind of conversion rate to expect, but any lead gen vendor worth their salt should be able to give you an estimate based off what they’ve seen from similar past programs.
This conversation usually happens when you start a new program. If your partner doesn’t bring it up themselves, you should ask. But don’t settle for a percentage — a good lead generation provider should also lend insight into how close leads are to converting.
Go to your check in meeting ready with a few questions to ask. Feel free to go more in-depth, but you should at least ask the following:
- How do you qualify your leads?
- In what funnel stage are these leads?
- Do you have any suggestions for following up with these leads?
- What challenges do you anticipate in meeting our targeting?
Your partner isn’t there to hold your hand throughout the buyer’s journey, but they should provide you with the right information to set you up for success. And in case something goes wrong along the way, you should also ask about their return policy.
2. Communicate with your sales team
Once you’ve discussed how to handle your leads with your lead gen partner, it’s time to talk to sales. Here are some tips to guide your discussion:
- Pass along any information you received about managing the leads you buy, and come to an agreement with your sales team about how purchase-ready the leads are.
- Ask how different lead sets are converting and how sales has been managing the ones that aren’t converting as well. Sending a cold email followed by a few check-ins might work well for the MQLs your in-house team generates, but depending on the guidance you get at the start of your program, sales and marketing might need to take a different approach.
- Offer to create sales-enabled content for your sales team that they can then send to leads. This could be articles for the company blog, case studies, surveys, white papers, email cadences, or any other kind of content that educates buyers about what you sell. Educated leads are empowered leads, and empowered leads are more likely to become buyers.
3. If 1 and 2 don’t help, go back to your lead gen partner
If you’ve already set the proper expectations with your lead gen vendor and sales team but you’re still getting rejected, it’s time to go back to your vendor. Lead generation companies are just as prone to mistakes and hiccups as the rest of us, and they should be prepared for when these happen.
Ask to review how they qualified the leads they sent you. There may be some details here that you and your partner didn’t catch the first go-around. Good lead gen vendors should update their contact lists regularly and record touchpoints on every lead. They should also be good consultants.
For example, if you’re running a content syndication program and not seeing the results you’d like, you might propose switching to an account-based (ABM) leads program. Doing so may increase your CPL, and your partner should tell you that. When you buy leads, you’re paying for a moving target. You’re also paying for expertise, so it’s crucial to go with a company you can trust.
Finally, if nothing comes from talking to your partner, it’s possible they made a mistake. If they realize this and tell you, that’s a good sign. Transparency is crucial, and any attempt to cover tracks or save face on their end might mean it’s time to find a new partner.
4. When in doubt, nurture
Sometimes there’s miscommunication between your company and a lead generation company. Sometimes sales and marketing aren’t perfectly aligned. Sometimes the leads are bad. I’ve covered what to do in those situations, but for the times when you’re stuck in limbo working on a solution, default to nurturing your leads.
Ask your sales team for a service-level agreement (SLA) so that marketing knows exactly how ready leads should be before passing them along. Once leads are ready, hand them over to sales. Continue to nurture remaining leads until they’re warm enough to talk to a salesperson.
Drip campaigns can be powerful tools for nurturing leads that aren’t quite there yet, and retargeting ads can help to re-engage people who seemed interested not so long ago. Keep in mind that most buyer journeys aren’t linear and that 75 percent of software buyers take more than a week to research a solution. Nurturing leads helps them find their way back to you.
TechnologyAdvice will work with you to keep your sales team happy
Whether you’re just starting to research lead generation or you’re looking to diversify your pipeline, TechnologyAdvice offers multiple lead generation programs to suit your needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our sales team, or visit our Services page to learn more.