Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Do You Really Know the Sources of Your Best Opportunities?

by Trish Bertuzzi on Thu, Apr 15, 2010

OneSource (now D&B Hoovers) recently conducted the first in a series of B2B SalesPulse surveys. They were kind enough to share a preliminary look at their data with me.

What I found most interesting was the divergence of opinion between what is being talked about as best practices around developing pipeline in the "blog/twitter sphere" and what the "feet on the street" think about the same practices.

Let me give you a specific example from the OneSource data:

From which sources do you get the most qualified opportunities?
(1=Least, 5-Most)



Outbound Prospecting




Inbound Calls


Email Campaigns


Events & Tradeshows


Social Networking Sites


Direct Mail




Here is what I found interesting about this data set:

  1. Outbound Prospecting is ranked 1st.
    Every day I read about how outbound prospecting is dead. Now personally I believe an intelligent combination (with both inbound & outbound strategies) is the way to go, but I am just telling you what I read. It data suggest that Sales Organizations are in agreement with me.
  2. Inbound calls and email campaigns are tied for 3rd.
    This suggests to me that a prospect who picks up the phone and calls is not necessarily, in the long run, any more qualified than someone who responds to an email campaign.
  3. Events and tradeshows sit pretty much in the middle of the pack.
    I expected this category would have had its butt kicked by Social Networking Sites, but I guess not yet.
  4. Webinars are ranked as the lowest source of Opportunities.
    Let me see... how many invitations to webinars do I receive on a daily basis? Answer: dozens. If Sales Organizations don't consider them a good source of leads, why are we doing them? Is this scenario yet another case of confusing "activity" with "opportunity"?

So, what is up with this data? Are we so busy talking to each other about the newest trends  that we are forgetting to have real conversations with the people who actually live and die by the pipeline sword?

I know that we all track the data in our CRM. Leadsource is tied to every Opportunity and the debate rages on around "how many leads does it take to change a light bulb". But, there is perception and there is reality -  so maybe we need to ask the feet on the street (or on the phone as the case may be).

So c'mon Sales Guys. Give us your take:

PS - If you are an inbound marketing, email marketing or marketing automation vendor.... we get it.... We'd like to hear from just regular old sales people who are out there pounding the pavement and/or the phones.

Topics: lead generation

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