10 Worst Things to Do With a Qualified Sales Lead

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Guest Post by:  Maria Pergolino

Marketers spend a lot of time (and money) delivering leads to sales teams. Of course, one big mistake – or even a series of little ones – can be the end of a potential sale.

Ensure you avoid these 10 worst things you can do with a qualified sales lead in your lead nurturing efforts:

1. Repeated phone calls: There’s a fine line between nurturing a sales lead and harassing a prospect that all marketers have to respect. Constant phone calling is a sure-fire way to get a qualified leads running for the hills. Instead, create a more holistic communication strategy that includes emails, phone calls and even direct mail – spread out over time.

2. Sending something too personal: A good marketer develops a strong relationship with each and every qualified sales lead he or she engages. But it’s important to remember that no matter how strong the relationship, overly personal discussions – i.e., politics and religion – should be saved for home.

3. Telling prospects why they are a qualified sales lead: No potential customer wants to be viewed as a sales lead – qualified or otherwise. Avoid comments such as, “I saw you on our website for 16 seconds today!” Do your part to ensure the lead nurturing process makes them feel like a valued and respected customer, not a number.

4. Being too presumptuous: You know the saying, “When you assume you make an…”? Well, you know the rest. Avoid asking too early in the sales cycle such presumptuous questions as, “What’s your budget?” or “Where can I send the invoice?”

5. Remove the lead from the nurturing process: Be careful not to discount leads too early in the lead management process. Instead, focus on their individual needs to create a tailored nurturing plan to show how your products and services meet those unique requirements.

6. Ignore the lead: You likely only need to think back to junior high to remember how being ignored feels. Giving specialized attention to leads, and demonstrating to them that your business cares about their needs, is essential to lead nurturing.

7. Failing to take the lead off your call list: If a lead has specifically asked to be taken off your list, keep them on at your own risk. There’s virtually zero chance a lead will convert to a sale after his or her explicit request is ignored.

8. Passing leads too quickly to sales: Sending leads to sales before they’re ready to buy significantly decreases your chance of conversion. Up to 95% of qualified prospects on your site are there to research and are not yet ready to speak with a sales rep. But as many as 70% of leads will eventually buy from you – or your competitors.

9. Passing leads too slowly to sales: Just as there is a risk for passing unqualified leads to sales, there’s also the risk for not passing qualified leads quickly enough. Lead scoring tools can help marketers act on “hot” leads more quickly and pass them to sales appropriately.

10. Not passing information about leads to sales. Marketers learn all sorts of valuable information about prospects during the lead nurturing process. It is vital that information be passed to sales. Ensuring sales and marketing are in line with one another means the difference in success and failure every time.

What’s the worst thing you think a B2B company could do with a qualified sales lead?

Original Post: http://blog.marketo.com/blog/2010/05/10-worst-things-to-do-with-a-qualified-sales-lead.html