Most companies have a sales sweet spot. A defined set of early adopters or a target market that they’re best suited for.

It’s not the whole market. That’s way too big. Instead, it’s a specific type of customer, a specific segment, a specific set of internal or external variables that mean sales are faster, easier, more efficient and more profitable.

Let’s say you’ve developed a new software application that’s ideal for mid-market companies. Enterprise organizations can use it too, but those deals take too long (at least right now). SMB organizations think it sounds great, but their purchase cycles aren’t any shorter and your value proposition and pricing structure is mostly over their heads anyway.

The narrower your market opportunity or focus, the more precise you need your sales & marketing to be. Paid search, for example, won’t differentiate or discriminate between inbound requests. Anybody can respond to your ad.

Your content marketing might be generating hundreds of inbound leads, but if your target market is narrow, the majority of those leads might not be in your sweet spot.

And yet, you might have your sales team scurrying to follow-up with all of those leads. They’ll be spending the majority of their time chasing sub-optimal leads at the expense of proactively going after organizations directly in your sweet spot.

Inbound leads are great – if you execute well they can come in droves, at an extremely low cost, with predictable perpetuity month to month.

But most of those leads likely aren’t going to buy. It’s critical that you know precisely who you want as a customer, so that your sales & marketing efforts focus first and foremost in that direction.

Be opportunistic when other opportunities come your way, but beware the slippery slope of pursuing volume at the expense of quality.

2 Responses to “Why too many inbound leads might hurt your sales”

  1. Jake Meador

    Good post. We’re trying to figure this one out right now at our company. We’re getting more and more inbound leads, but we’re still figuring out how to properly qualify them before we pass them on to sales.

    Reply
    • Matt Heinz

      Really important to establish that qualified lead definition up front, to separate the good from the not-ready. The lead-to-opportunity-to-close model you build needs to take into account those qualified leads exclusively as well. If you don’t have enough of the qualified leads coming inbound to feed your opportunity and closed business expectations, you may need to augment with additional leads from elsewhere.

      Reply

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