Are your sales reps saying ‘my inbound leads suck!’ but the agency is saying otherwise? What’s the truth? And how do you expect to fix it? Today on the Funnel we talk about how to make the most of your inbound leads, even if your sales reps think they ‘suck’. As always if you have any questions please schedule a 30-minute consultation and I’ll do my best to help in any way I can.


What we’re going to cover:

  • Maybe, maybe not
  • Follow-up
  • Think differently
  • Close




Maybe, maybe not


Agencies and the yellow brick road

“If you remember the wizard of Oz all they had to do was follow the yellow brick road to get to Oz and the wizard would get them home. Well, the wizard of Oz turned out to be this little man behind the curtain. We don’t really understand how he got there or how he’s going to get home.

“To some degree, agencies are like that too. They’re putting it out there that if you go down this road of inbound, you build your inbound base, you attract warm leads to come to your website, that you will have a bounty of business coming your way. But that’s just not the reality for a majority of salespeople.”

What is the reality?

“Most of us are handing sales reps leads and they don’t know how to deal with them, they don’t know what to do with those inbound leads. So, it may not be that the leads bad it may just be how we are connecting to the leads or what our expectations are on those leads.”


Inbound leads are different

“Why are they different? Because there is a lot you don’t know in addition to what you do know. You do know that they’ve done all these things on your website, you know the person’s name and their contact information because they’ve put it in the system. But you don’t know the inside of their company, you don’t know who makes decisions and when they make decisions.”



“You don’t know where they are in the buying cycle, you don’t know how much they have they been nurtured. Do they need to be nurtured more? What I’m saying is that maybe they’re good, maybe they’re not, but you don’t know enough based on your sales reps follow-ups.”




Typical Scenario

“Sales rep gets a lead, they call or email, but they don’t hear anything back and it can go days without a response. Maybe they follow-up, maybe they don’t, maybe it’s a one-time lead. ‘I emailed them, they didn’t respond back to me, the lead sucks’ Well what does that mean? Did they do the right thing?”


When? How?

“An inbound lead should be contacted 5-6 times over a three-week period. If you have their phone number you should call them first and then you should email them. It should be contextual, it should be about whatever it is they downloaded, personal and about them.”


Who is the contact?

“In some cases, if they know who it is they’re contacting and they make it more contextual or personal, how fast are they doing that? If you’re waiting to follow-up you’re dead in the water. The longer it goes the less likely you’re going to get a response. Every single day it goes more and more down the drain and that’s data.”


Develop a process.

“You need a process and a program for timely follow-up. Quickly, for the first one. Then lay out the time frame and the cadence for the next four or five.

“And use both methods, voicemail, and email. Why both? Because some people like to be contacted in an email, some people like to be contacted via phone and you just don’t know.”


Checkup on your reps.

“I wouldn’t take their word verbatim, I’d go back and I’d look at it, let me see the leads, let me see when and how you followed up, what it looked like. I don’t just want the dates, I want the emails, I want to know what you said on the voicemail, let’s take a look at it.”

“Because if they’re not following up right away and they’re not following up over a two to three-week period multiple times, they’re not doing it right.”


Think differently


Depending on the lead

“Think a little differently, and this depends on the lead I’m not telling you to do this all the time. But and inbound lead comes in, it’s your ideal prospect or persona in a company that fits that range, the demographics, all the stuff is right, but the contact is down the power food chain. Let’s say they are an administrator, what do you do?”

Reach out to them.

“Let’s say you go to an event or a show and there are thousands of people there. And when they stop by your booth the vast majority are not decision makers. Because decision-makers don’t go and buy your stuff, they usually send somebody to gather information. So, why wouldn’t you do a little research on the company? Find out who the power is, who is your ideal contact in that situation, and reach out to them.”


Power first, Contact second

“Reach out to power, see if you can get a hold of them, then go to the contact second. You can tell the contact ‘hey it’s interesting that you stopped by our booth, I just contacted so and so in your office about this very same thing, small world, right?’ So, you’re not trying to hide it from them but you’re putting it out there. See what happens when you do that.”


Why not?

“If you are not having any success with leads, you’re doing the multiple touches, you’re doing the whole thing, you’re not getting anywhere with folks down the food chain, and you’re actually getting somewhere with folks up the food chain, what’s the harm in trying it? What’s the harm in stepping just slightly above and then saying to them ‘hey I did this’?

“I know all sales are personal and people have to like you, you have to develop a relationship, but maybe you’re staring at a gatekeeper, I’m just saying maybe go around the gatekeeper.”


Multiple touches

“Then go through the process, make sure they’re doing the multiple touches over 3-4 weeks, ending it if it doesn’t work, sending it back to marketing for more nurturing.”

“Because it always goes back to marketing with feedback. And when you make a connection and you have conversations, that feedback is just as critical. The more feedback you can provide to the marketing folks, the better your leads are going to get. So, having those conversations is critical.”




Goal is to convert

“Your goal is to convert that opportunity, that connection, that person, that prospect, into the next conversation, to get them on the phone. You want them to turn into a full-blown prospect.”

Don’t touch base.

“So, if you’re touching base, following up, checking in, you’re not going to be able to close them because you don’t seem important. They’ve already given you the entrance so jump right in and ask those questions that are more open-ended, stuff that creates a conversation.”


Open ended questions

“This gets the conversation going and then begin your helping. How can I help you solve your problem?”


How am I going to deal with these leads?

“This is what happens with sales, we look at leads as ‘a lead, is a lead, is a lead’. Don’t look at it that way. Look at the inbound, look at all your leads differently based on where you’re sourcing them. So if you’re getting inbound leads you need to figure out how you’re going to respond to those and how you’re going to make the connection, what your goals are in this connection, how you’re going to talk to them and then how you’re going to get the conversation to close to the next appointment to do the deeper dive.”


Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.


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