Motivated sales professionals are often loathe to disqualify leads, because they want to show they can succeed in the face of a challenge. However, savvy B2B leaders understand lead quality is more important to the health of the organization than lead quantity. In fact, 31% of B2B marketers have listed lead quality as the most important metric they track.
To maintain an exceptional level of lead quality, you have to be prepared to disqualify certain leads. While it can be painful for some sales professionals to let potential revenue disappear from their pipeline, investing resources in the leads that are a good fit with your company will yield vast rewards down the line. Since studies show only 27% of leads handed to sales are qualified, it’s often up to salespeople themselves to determine when to cut the cord.
Your key performance indicators are wildly inconsistent
Inconsistency in your performance metrics is one of the key indicators that you may have too many unqualified leads in your pipeline. The biggest problem with this is many sales leaders may mistake the root of the issue as something else within the sales process, such as sales rep behavior or the messaging delivered in pitches.
But inconsistency is systemically a different problem than lack of success. Your sales reps may be overcoming their disadvantages in relation to the lack of lead quality by continuing to sign clients, often based solely on their ability to build relationships.
Sales reps are inundated near the top of the sales funnel
If your sales reps are regularly spending too much time on activities for leads near the top of the sales funnel, it could be a sign that a significant portion of their lead pool is not a good fit for your company. Whether it’s because of a high-level disconnect, such as the buyer’s needs not fitting the capabilities of your product or a more specific factor such as mismatched budget or technological details, the more time your salespeople invest in unqualified leads at the top of the funnel, the more it hurts everyone involved. Even if you employ a highly-specialized sales force with dedicated reps to handle early-stage client communications, engaging with too many unqualified leads creates harmful inefficiencies throughout your other processes.
You’re spending time nurturing leads that don’t fit your buyer personas
When sales reps receive leads that strongly correspond to established buyer personas, it gives them a head start on the entire selling process. They go into their initial interactions with proven data that can help them determine how they can best relate to their client and deliver valuable information quickly.
Just because a lead doesn’t neatly fit into one of your buyer persona profiles doesn’t automatically mean they aren’t a good fit for your product, but it usually takes more time and resources to nurture them successfully, due to the information gap sales professionals must deal with. If you find your sales development reps are consistently having to invest more to learn about clients who don’t quickly fit your profiles, it could signal that too many lower-quality leads are sneaking through.
Your pipeline is clogged with stale leads
One of the most enduring problems with unqualified leads is they have a tendency to sit in the pipeline far far longer than they should. Your sales reps may keep them as active prospects simply because they reach out to check in every once in awhile, even though there is no encouraging sign that indicates they are primed to make a purchase.
Purging stale leads from your pipeline is an often overlooked part of lead management, but it’s vital to the sustained health of your sales process. To prevent against this, sales leaders need to enact regimented structures for reviewing and discarding stale leads at regular intervals.
Your best salespeople are frequently unable to overcome objections
Objections are a natural part of the sales process. While it’s too simplistic to say that salespeople should have an easy time overcoming them, it’s also unnatural for objections to be one of your biggest issues when you’re reaching the right customers.
If your well-trained sales professionals are repeatedly coming up against objections that have no reasonable resolutions, then the cause may product-customer misalignment. In most instances where your company can add real value to the client’s life, objections should merely act as small speed bumps that give salespeople the opportunity to slow down and prove the worth of the product.
There’s a disconnect between your sales performance and customer success
Once again, one of the most dangerous effects of chasing too many unqualified leads is that it can wreak havoc on your metrics. One of the ways this issue can manifest itself is in a consistent disparity between your sales performance indicators and your customer success statistics.
If your customers’ needs don’t match up with the capabilities and value you have promised through your sales process, then it’s highly unlikely that your buyers will see the intended results. Your sales team may still be achieving results, but it will ultimately all be for naught.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.