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I’ve experienced a recent rash of telephone calls from business developers after I’ve filled a form to get a piece of thought leadership. Sometimes within hours and other times within days.

When I pick up the phone and hear, “I’m just following up to make sure you received the white paper and see if there are any questions I can answer,” I feel sorry for that poor business developer who has been tasked with talking to someone that is at the top of the sales funnel.

I reply,”I just wanted some information. Don’t really have a need at this time.” And, on occassion, I add, “You really should talk to your marketing group and help them understand that using you to qualify and try to accelerate someone that is not exhibiting any buying behavior is a waste of your time and company resources.”

It’s a shame when you see an expensive resource like a BD used at the beginning of the sales funnel; or as I like to call it, the “buy-cycle.” It’s about as close as you can get to cold calling as there is.

What they should have done is provided more content on the subject, created some progressive profiling questions and “triggers” that would alert the BD when I start to read more, visit more and exhibit more buying behaviors. Even if you don’t have a marketing automation system, you can set these up with simple web-forms.

Hey! Marketing Manager! Use that expensive BD at the beginning for campaign development to get their input and understand what type of content to create. Learn what questions they need answered, and then again at the end, when someone actually becomes qualified and sales ready.

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2 thoughts on “The inneffectiveness of having a BD follow up on a simple download

  1. How true!! In the final analysis, when it comes to professional services business development, the one and done sales effort is a myth.
    What I see happening is that partners are desperate for new business, BDs are under enormous pressures to get appointments and sales, and marketers are anxious to see their efforts turn into lead generation. But as you observed, just because a prospect has raised their hand to order a white paper doesn’t mean that they are sales ready.

    I think that out of all of the transformations occurring in professional services marketing, the least understood are the strategies and tactics behind lead nurturing.

    Eric, you know that lead nurturing has a huge number of moving parts, but I wonder how many marketing professionals out there really understand TOFU or MOFU; the content monster that lead nurturing is; and the technologies for automating and measuring the nurturing process. This is hard stuff to do, and for the typical firm, represents a significant additional workload above and beyond the daily responsibilities of the marketing department.

    Here’s my prediction when it comes to lead nurturing: the big firms are going to get it and make the investment, the middle level firms are going to want it and will wring their hands about costs (rather than think about ROI), and the small firms who need to do lead nurturing the most and who would see the biggest ROI, are going to bury their heads in the sand.

    • Your prediction is likely to come true. The reality is that even the small and mid firms could get this done BUT they’d have to focus resources on doing it and maybe stop other activities that aren’t really producing anything but activity.

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