Years ago, when I last was a sales executive in traditional employment, I got into an interesting round of corporate politics with our VP of marketing over 800+ sales leads they provided my organization. The way the discussion was framed at a weekly SMT (senior management team) meeting was Marketing had provided Sales hundreds of sales leads that hadn’t been followed-up on.

I recall our CEO giving me a look before I spoke.

The problem was the 800+ sales leads were business cards collected in a punch bowl at a trade show — leave a card as part of a drawing to win a golf club. The leads weren’t leads at all. At best, they were representative of weekend golfers — we sold large enterprise and service provider wide-area networking equipment.

When my team received the 800+ leads I had an admin team sort them by region — eliminating competitors, vendors, and contacts who in no way were likely prospects. Then I had a business development team scrub the group for likely sales targets. Bottom-line, there were less than 50 companies to pursue. From that group, a handful of meetings were held… no sales. There wasn’t one legitimate lead in the 800+ contacts.

The ridiculous lesson to take from this story is people who drop their card into a punch bowl to win a golf club aren’t leads.

Nancy Nardin at Smart Selling Tools offers a similar lesson. Here’s the money quote: If you ask your reps to call each lead without first knowing its suitability, you are hampering productivity and revenue growth.

Give Nancy’s post a read. Good Stuff.

What’s your sales lead story? Have you ever wasted time chasing bogus leads?


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