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Let's Talk Lead-Gen: Qualifed Vs. Not

As I state in my marcom materials and in proposals, if you engage me - you will get LESS meetings/opportunities, but when you get them - they will be qualified. And I mean, QUALIFIED - what that means is that the prospect really wants to do business - they understand the product or service, it fits their needs, and, they have money - now or in the future. If they don't have the money now or the timeframe or need is out a bit, or they are just doing a "looky -loo", I know that and will convey accordingly.

To some people, less means less - while as I have written before less can be more - particularly when the meeting/demo is worth $25, $50, or $100K - named account or not. Even I would rather have another SMARTFormulator, Clear-Demand, or SkyStem then some dumbass who goes to market unprepared and does a 3 month trial thinking they have the "IT" product. I want quality, my clients want quality, the client's prospects - want quality.

I had a conversation with a prospect for myself, he was "concerned" about the time and the fact that he may only get one demo/meeting a month. He wanted TWO and the cost per lead was high to him. I tried to explain, that what I deliver - that one meeting a month is generally "sales ready" - it is beyond a lead. His response, "yeah, yeah, I know the difference between a lead and sales ready lead", but it was clear he really did not - because he was using cost per lead for a lead that had a very high likelihood of closing. What is cost per lead? I spend $200 to generate an appointment to introduce the product/service or I spend $200 to generate an appointment where the person is fairly informed about the product/service and understands key differentiators and is 80% sold already? How do you calculate cost per lead? $200 for entry into a months long sales cycle with yet a lot of work - that is expensive for sure, $200 for a meeting where there is another meeting and decision to buy - within a short timeframe - well that isn't expensive at all!

It is like someone stated somewhere on the internet, some sales "guru" - cost per lead in complex b2b sales is an archaic measure. I use ROI - how much the client invests in me per year and how much sales they close to earn that investment back and then some. If the client pays me off - which most do - then I did good.

One time a client worked with a well known pay for performance firm, you pay for a meeting regardless of outcome. Twice the company set up meetings that I, in a matter of minutes, disqualified - a little research and I knew a competitor contract was signed, in the other instance the COO had someone call me to inform me that a competitive product was rolled out. You pay for a meeting, but not for a sales-ready or qualified lead. I was told actually that that is another service level and costs more. It costs more to do something which naturally should be part of the process.

If a client spends $15K and gets $300K back in closed sales or gets $24K+ in repeat year-over-year business, isn't that a better condition to consider? What is the cost of everytime I leave a voicemail, email, or talk to someone where they learn the name of the company and solution? What is the cost of when someone you talk to calls back 2 years later and hands you a $50K opportunity?

We are so short-term in our thinking and ways, that we lose sight of what really matters. Quality leads that mean real opportunity, real business - not necessarily today - but tomorrow. What the real definition of ROI actually is.

Permalink 08/30/13 -- 07:18:14 am, Categories: Background, Information

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