Lead Generation: Whose Job Is It, Anyway?

It’s Guest Post Monday, and speaker and author Joanne S. Black looks at a common misconception out there about lead generation.

“Salespeople should not generate their own leads.” That’s what more than one marketing executive told me at a recent sales and marketing event. (Seriously?)

But it gets worse.

Then these marketing people said that salespeople are terrible at lead gen. They also told me that they don’t want their salespeople generating their own leads (translation: too expensive). Let them follow up on the leads that marketing provides.

I think this “marketing is in charge of lead gen; sales should just follow up” perspective is appalling.

I was in utter disbelief. When I was finally able to pick up my jaw from the floor and articulate something professional, I asked, “What are salespeople supposed to do if not generate their own leads? Sit back and wait for the phone to ring? Take on account management and customer service roles?”

I say let salespeople do the job we were hired to do: sell!

Let the Conversation Begin

Marketing professionals have their own lingo. They believe it’s their job to generate qualified leads for sales. Then they get frustrated and annoyed when salespeople don’t accept their leads.

Marketing and sales need to understand their interrelated, but independent, roles. Encourage the conversation between marketing and sales in your organization. Both are incredibly valuable contributors. Salespeople know sales (this includes lead gen).


Let Salespeople Generate & Qualify Their Leads

I’ve got the solution. Let salespeople do the job we were hired to do: sell. We are the ones who are positioned to qualify our own leads.

Does marketing have a role? Of course. Let them nurture, nurture, nurture. Use all of their marketing automation, web analytics, and predictive analysis tools. They do not replace salespeople, nor will they ever.

Sales VPs tell me that they wish their salespeople would generate more leads of their own, but they’re not sure how to make that happen. We’ve entered another era of entitlement. Salespeople have become reliant on technology to make leads magically appear, and we’ve abdicated our role to initiate new relationships and new business.

We leave money on the table every day. We foster terrific relationships with our many client connections, and we close business and move on to the next prospect.

Give Salespeople the Tools to Generate Referrals

Your current clients love you and want to do business with you. After all, they know what you do, and they’ve enjoyed measurable business results from your solution. Your clients know a ton of people, and they could be your best source of referrals—but that resource is totally under-leveraged.

We tend to think that our clients will automatically refer us. In fact, they think of us when they need us, but they don’t advocate for us. Think how powerful it could be to mine this valuable resource for more business.

Referrals work: you’ll spend less time developing more qualified leads, and you’ll close more business in less time.

Let Salespeople Succeed

Let’s get to work. It’s our job and our passion to make connections, and generate and close qualified business. I’m on it.

Joanne S. Black | America’s leading authority on referral selling, professional speaker, and author of No More Cold Calling™, Joanne Black helps sales teams get more referrals and attract more business fast without increasing costs. Discover how to turn prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. Visit http://www.nomorecoldcalling.com.

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7 thoughts on “Lead Generation: Whose Job Is It, Anyway?”

  1. Nicholas Kontopoulos


    Firstly, great post.

    I recently moved over to the dark side (marketing) after spending most of my carrer as a quota carry (which I loved). Part of the motivation for this move was driven by some of the issues you covered so beatifully in your post.

    When I first read the title of your post my first thought was “everyone” – today we live in a hyper connected world and there is no reason why someone in Finace, Legal or Logistics could not help drive leads for the organisation.

    In terms of marketing vs. sales being responsible for leads – well, it is simply naive of any marketer worth their salt to think that sales aren’t also responsible for driving leads.

    My personal view is that both these critical organisations are responsible for lead generation.

    Sales and Marketing HAVE to develop tighter alignment between their businesses units where collaboration becomes part of their organisational DNA.

    I see smart companies already driving this type of transformation via Inside Sales and Marketing working in lockstep (HubSpot is a great example).

    Thanks for the post and I look forward to reading more.

    Nicholas Kontopoulos
    Comment typed via IPad so forgive any typos 😉

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