Ask any salesperson and they will likely tell you that good leads are the most important aspect of successful selling.  I’ve worked for companies at all different levels on this topic – from absolute garbage leads (the company thought they were good) to golden leads (that were often ignored!).  The golden leads are money if you have salespeople who can effectively qualify.

To that point, Miller-Heiman has released their annual Sales Best Practices Study (h/t Managesmarter.com).  One of their many interesting findings:

Organizations in which sales and marketing are aligned
regarding their target market, customer profile, and lead
definitions are in a much stronger position to produce
quality leads. Maintaining a consistent and highly visible
process to qualify opportunities will be critical in the
coming year when resource allocation will be highly
scrutinized.
We found that a company’s ideal customer profile will
likely change as market conditions change. New criteria
may emerge or current criteria can increase in importance.
Strong sales and marketing alignment supports lead
quality by preventing marketing from focusing on targets
that are no longer a priority.

Many truths in that small excerpt.  Clearly companies will be hunting smaller deals in order to keep revenue flowing.  This economy can dry up revenue streams in a matter of weeks so constantly turning over rocks and looking for any deal will be critical.

As they say, read the entire thing.

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