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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Jul 19, 2016 5 min read

What Good Is an Inbound Sales Lead If Your Sales Team Can't Close?

{}You spent time, resources, and money on the implementation of your new inbound marketing strategy. So we can imagine how frustrating it can be to generate great quality inbound sales leads, but be unable to close them. After all, you implemented inbound in order to increase sales.

One of the most common issues that comes with implementing inbound marketing is lead flow. Marketers generate hundreds of leads every month, but sales teams can’t seem to close them. And what good is an inbound sales lead if it doesn’t close?

Not only is this a waste of effort, time, and resources, but it also leads to a lot of finger pointing. Marketers turn the blame on your sales team, and sales people point the finger at the marketing department. Yet, this doesn’t solve anything and no one knows how to proceed.

Here’s how to make sure your sales team knows how to successfully close an inbound sales lead.

Make Sure Your Sales Team Understands What’s Different about an Inbound Sales Lead

Try as they might, your existing sales people might just be unable to close those inbound leads. This isn’t uncommon. Many sales professionals were trained to aggressively pursue leads and to close them immediately. They were also trained to ignore leads that didn’t close. But this type of sales tactic doesn’t mesh with inbound.

An inbound sales lead needs a different approach. Your sales team needs to understand what exactly an inbound sales lead is and how it differs from an outbound lead. They must realize that, just because a lead has downloaded an ebook or signed up to your newsletter, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re ready to buy. Your sales team must realize that closing inbound leads takes more time, and they need to have patience. That they can’t give up. They must understand that they can’t be aggressive with these types of leads either—that the buyers are in control and that they’ll go through the buyer’s journey at their own pace.

Teach Your Sales Team How to Communicate with an Inbound Sales Lead

Your sales people might be used to calling up prospects and giving them a 10-second elevator pitch. Though this might work best for cold calls, it isn’t adequate for inbound leads. A typical lead might have visited your website a dozen times, read a dozen blog posts, and opened a few emails. If your sales people call them up and try to immediately close the deal, they’ll end up unravelling all of the trust that your marketers have created and all of the nurturing that they’ve done. This just isn’t the way to speak to inbound leads.

With all of this information available to the leads, sales people need to get information about their historical activity in order to better understand their unique pain points, interests, and needs. Then, they must use this information to have consultative and educational conversations. If these initial conversations don’t work to help the lead move forward, then the lead should be passed back to marketing for further nurturing.

Give your sales people the support they need when you implement inbound marketing, and they’ll be able to close more effectively.

Create Collaboration between Sales and Marketing

Far too often, leads go to sales, but aren’t ready to buy, and then fall into a black hole. It happens all the time. And it is one of the biggest causes of missed opportunities. These leads will likely close eventually with a little more nurturing, but not if your sales people give up on them.

You need to create an effective feedback loop between your sales and marketing departments. You need to improve collaboration and help both teams work as one. By improving communication, you can set up a way for sales to pass those unready leads back to the nurturing funnel, while adding the new information that they learned through their initial phone calls.


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.