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Lead Nurturing and Marketing Automation: 15 Key Questions Answered (Questions 7 and 9)

by Sid Smith  |  
February 5, 2013

Question 7: When is a lead truly "Sales-ready"?

The most basic definition is this: Leads are "Sales-ready" when a salesperson actively follows up on those leads and closes at least 30% of them with a good, solid profit margin.

If Marketing and Sales have the identical definition of a "sales-ready lead" (some call it a Sales-qualified lead) you have a good start at getting Sales to follow up on leads. But when Marketing and Sales have different definitions of what's Sales-ready, trouble rears its ugly head.

Sales won't follow up on leads they don't trust, simply because their time is valuable. Since most salespeople are paid on commission, dead ends cost them money.

Imagine what it would be like if you were paid according to the conversion rates of your landing pages. Wouldn't you get upset if the people responsible for sending leads to those landing pages were consistently delivering low-quality leads that didn't convert?

Getting Sales to Actually Define 'Sales-Ready'

Unfortunately, what is Sales-ready to one salesperson is not Sales-ready to another. Successful salespeople may have a far higher standard for Sales-ready than the struggling salesperson who is willing to talk to anyone. The key is to hit the agreed-upon minimum standard; then, if practical, tune your lead-scoring algorithm to the circumstances of the individual salesperson.

You may be hard-pressed to get an actual "definition" from many salespeople because it's often more of a "gut" feel if they're accustomed to working with raw, poor quality leads. That's where marketing automation systems, especially when tied to a quality CRM system, can help.

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Sid Smith is lead copywriter and marketing automation specialist for Albertson Performance Group. Sid has written on topics ranging from flex circuits to motherhood, but gets a real kick out of putting together the puzzle pieces of complex marketing automation strategies. Reach him via

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  • by Marie Wiese Tue Feb 5, 2013 via web

    Sid - this is a very helpful article and one that many small business owners should read. We rarely get a clear and confirmed answer to the question, "what is the definition of a qualified lead in your business?" And yet many business owners complain that marketing expenditures do not deliver measurable results. If you are executing marketing programs and don't have a clearly defined lead definition, how do you know if your marketing is working? The sales ready formula you have referenced in this article is very helpful and a huge step forward with respect to the answer we often get from our customers - "a lead is anyone who wants to speak to us about our solution." If this is true, I get my grandmother to call them.

  • by Ashley Petrons Tue Feb 5, 2013 via web

    Really helpful article, thanks for sharing.

  • by Amber King Wed Feb 6, 2013 via web

    This is the reason why sales and marketing should work together. Before any leads go into the sales departments, it should be sales ready. The Sales team should set what they consider as a lead.

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