Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Inbound Leads - The Double Edged Sword

by Cindy Littlefield on Tue, Feb 03, 2009

Who doesn't love inbound leads?

Requests for Quotes, White Papers, Webinars, Contact Us forms, Demo requests, Newsletters responses....and the list goes on.

Sales Teams might be thinking to themselves,

"Wow!  With all of these inbound leads I'm golden.  I'm sure to make my quota.  (Especially since I hate to cold call.) Right?"


Marketing departments are working overtime to generate a specific number of inbound leads each month.  They do their job, so why isn't the sun shining, the birds singing and everyone slam dunking their quotas? 

There are many factors impacting why inbound leads are not always the sales panacea everyone hopes they will be. 

First, who is doing all of this downloading, webinar attending and demo requesting?   Are they the technically curious?  Are they the evaluators?  Are they students working on a paper? 

My point is, chances are the person going to your web site, downloading a white paper, etc. is not the decision maker with an active project, an approved budget and they are not patiently waiting for your sales call.

Has this ever happened to you?  An inbound lead is assigned to you, you have your well crafted, value proposition messaging ready to go.  Over a period of time, you leave your messages, send your emails and nothing.............nada, no return call.

"Hey wait a minute, he contacted us.  He is the one who is interested in how we did such a good job with ABC Company.  Why no call back?"

Don't feel rejected; he's just not that into you. 

So, how do you maximize your return on inbound leads? Here are 3 tips:

  1. Define your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)
    What level person in the organization is your target? CIO, CEO, VP of widgets? What size company buys your stuff? What verticals have the highest probability to purchase? Net/net - stay focused! Good follow up is always recommended but don't invest too much time in a lead if it doesn't meet your target qualifications. 

  2. Call High
    Lucky you; you got the low level contact on the phone because he was the one that filled out the form.  Ask the contact to champion you up the food chain.  If he won't, call higher up yourself.  Remember the "company" is the lead not the "contact".

  3. Don't One & Done
    If the company fits your ICP but you just can't get them to respond, put them in your "remarket" plan. Contact them again in 6 months. Lots will have changed by then and it might be a better time.

With inbound leads, you may find that diamond in the rough that is a real prospect.  You may indeed find yourself in an actual sales process or with the promise of a project in the future. 

But then there are those that just wanted information and have no immediate need. You have to sort the wheat from the chaff and you have to do it quickly because your time is valuable and you have a quota to make.

That is the double edged sword of inbound leads. 

Feel free to share any ideas you have on how to more effectively convert inbound leads!

Topics: inside sales tips, lead generation

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