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The number of leads generated every day, week, month by your sales development team is of course an important measure of the return you are getting for your investment in lead generation. But it’s not the most important measure.

Too often I have seen heads of sales, sometimes CEOs, and even boards of directors, come to the conclusion that their lead generation ‘isn’t working’, and demand improvement.  Teams get retrained, managers replaced, playbooks re-written and cadences increased all because of the wrong conclusion to the right set of data.  

If your sales development team is having conversations, but not getting Meetings or Demos or Opps at the rate you expect, the question to ask might be…

“What insights can we gain from those conversations to understand why prospects are not engaging?”

There’s no such thing as a bad conversation. Conversations, particularly those generated through outbound calling, are a vast source of information that can be mined to help shed light on exactly what it is about the product or the message or the brand that is failing.  

  • What is the first objection that prospect’s raise?
  • Who do they mention most as a competitor?
  • How often do they say they have heard of us?
  • What questions do they ask most often?  
  • What kinds of companies, and what personas, yield the most or fewest conversations?

Insights like these, and many others, can be gained from conversations with prospects, even when those conversations fail to convert to a lead.  To gather these insights so that they can be quantified and analyzed requires a bit of forethought, some clever use of drop-down fields in salesforce, and most importantly, a new way of thinking about the role of your sales development team.

Yes, sales development needs to generate leads.  But they have another important role – to gain as much knowledge or insight from their conversations as possible, whether those conversations convert or not.  

There may be some very good reasons why conversations are not converting.  Understanding those reasons could be the difference between a company succeeding or failing.