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  • AD

    April Dunford

    about 4 years ago #

    In some market spaces in B2B you need to have a conversation to close a deal - customers simply won't self serve at the rate you could bring them on if you walk them through the value.
    When I've had that happen to me I lobby to bring a lead qualification team in under marketing - that keeps the lead quality high and ensures that your reps aren't leaving good stuff on the table because of a perception of poor lead quality. The key is you and sales need to agree on what the definition of "qualified" is.

    • KR

      Kamil Rextin

      about 4 years ago #

      Yes to what @aprildunford mentioned. Also in B2B there is alot of service expectation, both post and pre-sales. That might be something he can take on (call it Customer Success)

      • SC

        Stephen Croome

        about 4 years ago #

        We have Customer Success as a separate upsell function (as well as the normal customer support for helping with issues/queries etc)

    • SC

      Stephen Croome

      about 4 years ago #

      Hi April, thanks for your reply!

      The issue IS that we have different definitions of qualified ;)

      Under their definition, I may as well close the deals myself using the website or people in my team. Under my definition, I expect them to do some of the education and warming up, which they dont want to do

      I feel its an inside sales team with the lead expectations of an outside sales team, and I am trying to figure out how to bridge that gap

      We are a little bit too big for pure online sales, but I feel I could do a decent job just within the marketing team to close our size deals (up to $2000) just with someone on a flat rate salary who gives demos and forwards on contracts

      What is your opinion on the $ level where online/inside sales/outside sales make sense?

      • JB

        Joseph Bentzel

        about 4 years ago #

        Just looked at your biz. Killer idea with a lot of value.

        And you've got a free trial as well which ought to give you a strong indicator of willingness to pay/close based on use/outcome.

        Who signs up for the trial? HR people pre-screening resumes or the group where the coders will be working? Who executes your 'contract', HR or the group where the coders r working?

        More info would be helpful. Best of luck with this one. This is an internal perception gap that you should be able to address systematically and resolve.

      • AD

        April Dunford

        about 4 years ago #

        I think it's not so much about $ deal size as it is about the deal complexity. If there are multiple stake holders, if the buyer needs to get approval from folks or the purchasing dept, or legal etc. then you need a rep to manage that process.
        If sales wants the bar high for qualification, you need to make sure they are only getting leads that have signalled buy intent (i.e. they are hitting a "buy now" button not a "learn more" button). The rest of your leads are going to have to get hands-off nurturing until they meet your lead qualification threshold. That means you are on the hook for creating a bunch of educational content and figuring out how to get it in front of your prospects. If it was me I would also test things like webinars or live chat where prospects can interact with you before they hit sales.
        You may also want to talk to your CEO about what the right definition of an MQL is. Sounds like you are leaving cash on the table :)
        Good luck with it.

  • RS

    Rob Sobers

    about 4 years ago #

    At certain price points, no matter how hot, the buyer will still want assurances from a real human being that they're going to see ROI, get great support, etc. That's where salespeople earn their keep, especially in enterprise where going from "OK, I'll buy!" to getting an actual purchase order can take 6 months of follow-up.

    Should inside salespeople be able to take a lead that downloaded a how-to guide to taking a demo? Probably. Can they do a better job than an automated email workflow? Doubtful, but it depends on the audience.

    My company sells to IT people who hate being bugged on the phone, so our inside sales teams don't do very well at moving leads down the funnel. What they *are* good at is handling leads that are explicitly ready to engage with sales.

    If I were selling to marketers or other salespeople who are more willing to be sold to, then I would expect my inside reps to pull some weight.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    about 4 years ago #

    It's for questions like these that we made it possible to post AskGH anonymously. Pretty bold to post this with your real name.

    Consider something like Hubspot which you can use to nurture leads until they become sales qualified.

    • SC

      Stephen Croome

      about 4 years ago #

      Hi Sean

      My biggest challenge is finding good, experienced Sales side people to chat with! I am happy to be me and I am open to changing my opinions based on discussions here

      Even under Hubspot you have to define at what point a lead becomes qualified. I feel that inside and outside sales could/should have different definitions - otherwise what do you pay incentives to inside sales people for?

  • CN

    Chris Nordtomme

    about 4 years ago #

    April makes a good case for why you need sales people.

    On the question of whether they're bringing "enough" value, that really depends on how they're being compensated. It sounds like it might be a problem with the incentives and framing, and maybe the product range/value ladder they have to work with.

    If all their compensation and incentive comes from closing, with little opportunity for upselling, it's a game of all or nothing for them. They take all the risk, they see the leads' "hotness" as the most important variable in their success, and they don't see any incentive for you to qualify the leads you send them. It makes sense that they don't want to spend a lot of time educating luke warm leads, but will be pushing you to qualify ahead of time.

    However, if you can somehow reframe the sales job to a game of upselling, adding in some small wins, with shared risk and more levels of success, you might see them change perspective.

    Also, a quality lead is not a black and white thing, and some boxes to be checked. There are a lot of degrees of intent, need, value, urgency… etc that make up a qualified lead, and you normally want to err on the side of letting more leads through the eye of the needle – but not too many.

    Wasting your sales team's time and resources with leads that are nowhere near ready, will have a real, bottom-line impact. But so, too, will disqualifying leads that could have been closed.

    So, provided you get the compensation right, if you think there actually *is* room to improve the quality of the leads, then you should concentrate on doing that before offering to take on the sales people's job, too – regardless of how easy their job becomes because you are crushing it.

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