Man and Machine

By Cindy Waxer

While an automated, lead-generation system can intelligently identify prospects, there’s no discounting the importance of human insight and experience when it comes to generating leads. For this reason, consultant Ruth Stevens recommends gathering the advice of experienced sales professionals when determining the criteria by which all leads are to be scored.

What does the perfect prospect look like to you? How prepared is your prospect to make a purchase? What kind of budget is your prospect working with? Who do you need to contact within an organization to close a sale? These are all questions that should factor into an automated scoring engine’s functionality.

“Setting your criteria needs to be done with input from the sales force. A marketing department that takes it upon itself to decide qualification without involving the sales team is digging its own grave,” warns Stevens.

After a sales force determines the characteristics of everything from a prime opportunity to a dead-end lead, it is necessary to see that the leads are properly prioritized within the system.

Says Stevens, “If a salesperson can have the software set up for a tickler file, so that the most likely leads show up at the top of the list and the less likely show up at the bottom, that’s going to increase his or her productivity. The salesperson is going to be making more effective calls, closing more business and converting more leads to revenue.”

In the end, an automated, lead-generation system can identify prospects and boost sales, but not without the assistance and insight of seasoned sales professionals.