LeadsLet’s face it, sales lives in the moment. “What’s In It For Me” is pretty much the anthem of any aggressive sales person.

Marketing leads are from never land; you know, that make believe place that doesn’t worry about killing to eat.

For a lead to be real to a salesperson, they better be darned close to buying. In today’s market environment, the industry needs a reset of its language.

Leads vs. Suspects

In essence, salespeople deal in the now – with people who are able and/or ready to buy. The classic definition of this potential customer is a lead. Marketing deals with suspects; those that may or may not be able or ready to buy. The missing piece here is nurturing.

Lead nurturing, or the art of converting a suspect into a lead, can happen in a variety of ways. Typically it is best to be done by marketing, and if your marketing is firing on all cylinders, it should be triaging leads for the sales organization.

Creating a Funnel

Think of your marketing efforts as a funnel. The top of the funnel is where marketing should be concentrating on attracting suspects. By creating, optimizing and promoting content during the greenhouse shopping phase, potential buyers will enter your sales process. If your sales process is done well, it will match the consumers buying process.

The middle of the funnel is all about converting the traffic you get into leads. It is then about nurturing your leads and prospects in order to make it more likely that they will become customers. Of course, the bottom of that funnel is where that lead is turned into an opportunity. In anyone’s world, an opportunity is that moment that a lead is quoted.

Times are a changin’

For our industry to be successful today we need to think differently. If sales can’t nurture suspects into leads then you need to create a middle ground for this purpose. That middle ground my friends, is marketing.

For more information on how to market your business in today’s economy, read our Marketing of the Future eBook.