By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Image courtesy of StockImages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Website inquiries can be intoxicating for B2B vendors. My hope is that companies and sellers realize qualification efforts are necessary in following up on inbound leads to gain access to higher levels and establish value for offerings. Inbound activity seems to have reduced the focus on outbound reaches.
“In basket” selling occurs when started by inbound activity. Is it possible the deluge of Website visitors has caused a reduction in efforts to proactively initiate new opportunities? Consider some inherent limitations of inbound leads:
- Prospect organizations may not meet a desired prospect profile. This can cause sellers to waste time and ultimately need to disqualify prospects.
- It’s likely visitors earning high enough activity scores are not ideal entry points from the standpoint of having the ability to secure funding for offerings being considered. If budget hasn’t been earmarked, sellers must get to higher levels. This can be a challenge with people that avoid talking with sellers for as long as possible, believe they understand their requirements and are concerned about being manipulated.
- Inbound visitors may be doing research driven by personal curiosity about offerings with little regard for business outcomes that can be achieved.
- To understand and justify the value of B2B offerings, it is necessary for buying committees to take “enterprise” rather than personal or departmental views to develop cost vs. benefit analyses.
Sellers may get complacent in expecting that their pipelines should be filled with inbound leads. When they aren’t making their numbers, they may be unable or unwilling to take the trite but valid advice often given in high school yearbooks: Don’t wait for your boat (leads) to come in, row out (proactively generate interest) to meet it.
Takeaway: Inbound leads can and should be developed. That said, proactive reaches to targeted companies aimed at Key Player levels facilitate top down buying cycles and are likely to yield higher win rates.