David Meerman Scott’s blog post, "Sales Leads Are too Valuable for Sales People," is worth a read. He shows the folly of marketers who throw sales leads over the wall and expect sales people to catch them. This is an ongoing pattern for lead generation failure.
I’ve written that consistent, patient, long-term contact with sales prospects results in better ROI. The reality is that early-stage leads, which are often lost, ignored or discarded by sales people, represent between 40 and 70 percent of missed sales!
Because the sales team is responsible for much of the customer’s perception of the company, concerted care must go into developing the ongoing, relevant communications that the sales team will employ as it builds relationships with customers.
Marketing should nurture leads via a relevant and consistent dialog with prospects, regardless of their timing to buy. A key aspect of lead nurturing is the ability to provide valuable education and information to prospects up front, so that you become more than an expert; you become a trusted advisor.
Kate Maddox’s article in BtoB Magazine, "Integration Key to Lead Generation," emphasizes the need for close sales and marketing integration. The article is based on a recent white paper, as well as research by CSO Insights.