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Categories: Marketing, Sales,

Brian Carroll is the CEO of InTouch, a MECLABS company, and author of the industry defining book, “Lead Generation for the Complex Sale.” We were lucky enough to host Brian on Leadspace Radio a few weeks back and asked some of the biggest questions in marketing today. Take a look at Brian’s answers and use the information to make some strategic decisions about how you manage sales and marketing.

LS: You’ve pointed out that marketers need to redefine the way they think of leads. Can you elaborate?

Lead generation is really about relationships. The key is to identify the right people and the right companies at the right time, and having a way of initiating memorable conversations. Then, being able to nurture that dialogue regardless of whether they are an immediate prospect.

Instead of thinking of these people as leads, think of them as future customers.   Know who your customers are, and get alignment between sales and marketing on that persona.  And finally, don’t focus so much on your sales process.  Instead, really understand your customers buying process.

LS: Certainly the concept of becoming familiar with a customer’s buying journey is not a new one.  Aren’t most companies already doing this? In the end, isn’t that what “Qualifying” is all about?

A year ago our sister company Marketing Sherpa did some research, and found that even now, over 72% of the marketers we surveyed send leads directly to sales without qualifying them!  80% of leads are being lost, ignored or discarded when marketing hands them to sales.  They may call them qualified leads, but they really don’t match the sales teams expectations.

LS: Why is that?

We aren’t necessarily practicing what we preach, which is putting our customers first. Oftentimes we as marketers, or sellers, or entire companies, engage in what I call sociopathic marketing. The definition of sociopathic really is being focused on getting what you want at the expense of someone else; there isn’t a fair value exchange taking place. In simple terms, “How do I get what I want?”

Instead we need to think like our customers, put ourselves in their place. And instead of trying to optimize our marketing, we need to understand what our customers are thinking and feeling, and what it is they want. That’s how we can help them with our solutions, products or services, etc.

LS: You say we’re not practicing what we preach.  We claim to know what we need to be customer-centric. So why aren’t we doing it?

What I see happening is that we operate out of a place of company logic instead of customer logic. At its core, marketing has a huge opportunity and responsibility to drive transformation inside their companies. They can have a longer-term view than sales, which is typically focused on the short-term one or two quarters. They are looking at, “How do we generate revenue now and meet the immediate needs.” But I think marketing has a huge opportunity to be thinking about the future.How do we serve our customers better?

LS: So that’s the big mistake? Too often, our focus is on the short-term?

Companies, in the interest of driving profits and driving revenue, are too often putting their marketers in the position of looking at what can we get RIGHT NOW. So we’re forced to roll out those tired and weak strategies that no longer work very well, if at all.

LS: Rather counter-productive.

Right. Most of our customers ignore our efforts and we miss that opportunity to really connect and add value. So here’s how I would sum it up: instead of trying to be interesting, be interested in your customer.  And that really starts by listening.

Want to hear more from Brian Carroll?  Check out the full interview on Leadspace Radio. Spoiler alert- Brian is working on a new book too so stay tuned for more from Brian Carroll.

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