Attention B2B Marketers: Your Next Qualified Lead Is Sitting "Under the Hood"

October 9, 2012

This guest blog post was written by Pete Schott, sales development representative at Bizo. Pete is on the "front lines" when it comes to identifying and qualifying our best leads, and has some great insights to share on what it takes to uncover some of your most qualified leads.

Marketing automation platforms have had a major impact on lead generation, lead nurturing, and lead qualification at today's organizations. Thanks to the many advancements in these technologies, B2B marketers now have the ability to nurture leads automatically and with greater relevancy, and sales people are able to identify their "hottest" prospects in real time.

However, there's no substitute for having a solid sales development team to complement your marketing automation platform. Here's why:

Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are primarily responsible for doing two things:

1. Engaging with and qualifying leads for the sales team.
2. Looking "under the hood" to add more marketing sourced leads to the sales pipeline.

Ideally, you're creating massive amounts of leads, and your marketing automation system helps you identify when you think someone is engaged enough and ready for a real sales conversation. But this is only the beginning. If we create 1,000 leads in a given month, our system might tell us that 250 of them are "qualified" and ready to move forward in the sales process.

As the SDR, I'm looking to make an impact on two issues in this scenario:

1. How can I tap the value of the 750 "other" leads that we created in that month?
2. A large percentage of the 250 "qualified" leads will actually not be qualified at all for various reasons (not a fit strategically, lead has no budget, etc.), so I want to save time for both the prospective customer and my own sales representative by learning if this person is in fact sales-ready.

As the SDR, I want to look at the lead pool this way: I want to tap into that 25 percent - good looking leads that are sitting "under the hood" as we call it - and propel it into sales pipeline. This is a challenge for the marketing team as a whole, but the SDR can identify trends and common traits to narrow down this pool, as well as personally cherry-picking individual leads that look like a good fit.

My other goal as the SDR is to engage and personally qualify inbound leads to identify potential opportunities to pass to the outside sales team. Of those 250 leads that were automatically qualified, 50 of them might be expected to make it into the sales pipeline. The SDR can help narrow down the group by further qualifying these leads, which also lightens the load for the sales team who is busy enough with proposals, reporting to clients, etc. An SDR should have three to five standard qualification questions to ask prospects, the answers to which will provide the confidence for the sales team to move forward in the sales process, or make it clear that there is not a strategic fit.

In B2B marketing, you want to make the most out of any leads you create, and you want to do it efficiently and at scale. If your sales development team is set up to achieve this, you'll ensure that you're making better use of your marketing automation system--and your sales team's time.