There are many times as both a SaaS producteer and marketeer I have heard Sales complain that the quality of leads that are generated are really poor and they are not able to do much with the leads that are generated. Most people, sales champs, marketeers or producteers, however, are never able to articulate properly on what “Poor Quality” really means. What makes a lead “Poor Quality” ? Who is responsible for it?
Many people believe that this Quality measure is uni-dimensional and that the step immediately before sales is responsible for it. I firmly believe otherwise.
The Two Dimensional Quality Matrix
Quality of the leads coming into sales are determined by two parameters.
- Whether the lead is Qualified enough to sell to.
- Whether the lead is Engaged enough to sell to.
Qualification is a marketing parameter and is a direct result of how well Marketing targets and generates leads. Engagement is a Product function and tells how “usable” and “sticky” the product is for a customer.
Both these parameters are orthogonal to each other and do not affect each other in any ways. Now how these parameters interact with each other largely defines how Sales, Marketing and the Product is performing.
Consider the following scatter split of your leads that are heading into Sales
The All Win Situation
- Your leads are of very high “Quality”, Qualified people are engaging more.
- All sales needs to do is worry about Quadrant A and sell to them like crazy.
- The spillover on Quadrant B, Not-qualified, yet engaged will buy the product on a self service basis.
- There will be a few folks in Quadrant C and D, The product team might want to interview folks in C to see why they did not engage with the product. Segment D is largely ignorable.
The Dire Situation
- This is the worst situation to be in.
- The Product team has not been able to develop a product that is engagable.
- Marketing is not producing the leads that it needs to in order to facilitate Sales.
- The situation is bad, and some serious rework on both the Product and Marketing is required.
In this split you will notice that there are a lot of people engaging with the product. However most seem unqualified to be sold to. This can mean one of two things
- Marketing is doing a really bad job of targeting and they should revamp their strategy in order to get better qualified leads.
- The product premise is wrong. The product seems to be favoured by a bunch of people who find a special need for it that was not envisioned in the initial product vision.
Half Baked Product
In this split you will notice that a majority of the people coming in are Qualified to be sold to, but are not ready to be engaged with the product. This can mean a few things
- The product seems to be too complex / too simple for the taste of the Qualified Audience.
- There is no proper fit between what the product offers and the mental model of the solution that the lead has.
- The product is crashing and buggy and thus is rendered unusable.
What makes a Lead to be termed Qualified or Engaged varies from one product to another. But the terms by themselves are binary. There is Either a “Qualified” or a “Not Qualified” Lead. There is nothing deemed a “Half Qualified” Lead.
Again the Scatter diagram also works in context of volumes. Even if the number of Qualified and Engaged Leads are low compared to the other Quadrants. If your ticket size is high enough to produce a healthy bottom-line you really need not worry about the split. (Enterprise Sales)
Finally a good knowledge of your Qualified-to-Engaged Scatter and the Number of Q&E leads required to be profitable, will help you in deciding your product, marketing and sales strategy.