Think of lead generation, lead qualification and lead nurturing as progressive steps in a funnel. Marketing pours raw, unfiltered leads from a variety of sources into the top of the funnel.Ideally, what emerges at the other end—ready for professional handling by a lead-hungry sales force is a steady supply of qualified leads, each with a defined process and timeframe for buying.
Reality, unfortunately, rarely matches the ideal. All too often, no one is managing what happens to leads once they enter the funnel. Marketing, focusing on lead cost instead of quality, thinks it has done its job simply by dumping in the unfiltered leads. No one contacts the inquirers to do lead qualification. No one augments the leads with demographic and firmographic data. No one engages with long-term suspects via lead nurturing to convert them to short-term, qualified sales opportunities. No one evaluates the effectiveness of the lead sources.