Every manufacturing or industrial company that I talk to wants more leads. However, there is a serious disconnect between sales and marketing when it comes to defining a qualified lead.
This is not a new problem. Google sales and marketing disconnect and you will find thousands of articles written on this topic. I am here to tell you that it is very real and thriving within manufacturing companies.
Recently, a manufacturing client retained me to help them improve their industrial lead generation campaign. This company had spent thousands of dollars in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and banner ads in niche industry eNewsletters. They had received a fair amount of traffic from those efforts but had little to no conversions. In short, very poor ROI from their lead generation efforts.
During an internal discovery meeting with the client’s Director of Marketing and the Marcom Manager, we spent considerable amount of time reviewing their clickthru reports, traffic, pageviews, behavior and engagement stats from Google Analytics. All very impressive “Marketing Talking Points” to prove their success.
In a follow-up meeting, I invited the President, the VP of Business Development and the Inside Sales Manager to join us in the conversation. That is when the proverbial “The excrement made physical contact with a hydro-electric powered oscillating air current distribution device.” (The s**t hit the fan!)
Inside Sales Manager – “Lead generation is outbound telemarketing and appointment setting for my sales people.”
VP of Business Development – “This is all a bunch of BS! A lead is someone who has had a conversation with our sales engineers to determine their problem, identified the appropriate application, timeframe for buying and their budget.” Your classic BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe) criteria.
President – “It is not a lead unless we have a RFQ (Request for Quote).”
For me, the key takeaway from the second meeting was that they wanted more sales opportunities, not just leads.
That is not surprising since most manufacturers are more sales dominant and less marketing oriented. You can’t fault them for that point of view because when it comes to industrial sales, companies are faced with a limited pool of potential customers. There is fierce competition among manufacturers within an industry or a niche to go after the same customers.
What started off as an assignment for improving my client’s lead generation campaign, turned into something quite different. It became apparent that for me to produce results, I would first have to develop a structured lead management process before creating a lead generation campaign.
The process had to get sales and marketing to agree on a unified definition of a qualified lead, determine the timing of the hand off from marketing to sales, an agreement from sales to take follow up action and report back on their findings in order to refine the system. Refer to my earlier post “SAL is the Glue that Binds Sales and Marketing in Lead Generation” for more on a structured closed-loop lead generation system.
Let me know if you face some of these same sales vs. marketing challenges in your own lead generation efforts.