Sales vs. Marketing: observations about broker lead quality

This article is written by Bart Burggraaf, Managing Partner at MediaGroup Worldwide.

Bart Burggraaf MediaGroup

Bart Burggraaf, MediaGroup

Anyone working considerable time in a marketing role at a broker will recognize feedback from the sales department often revolves around the quality of the leads they get. As you are probably aware, this is not always for good reason. In this article I want to discuss the issues and some potential solutions.

Looking at conversion rates, on average sales people reaching out to new prospects will have to contact 10 leads in order to speak to 1-2 good ones. As such, it is entirely expected those  8-9 leads that didn’t convert are worse quality then the ones that did. A sales person can also hit a larger set of leads that are bad quality and it can still work out over time according to the average conversion rate. What’s more, if those sales people are on KPI-based compensation, where they have to close a certain number of clients, it is also the only outside reason that can be pointed at; marketing must not have been doing a very good job in producing quality leads.

In any case, this is the crux of the issue: it’s hard to think in abstract averages when you have to pick up the phone and call a large number of people that either don’t recall they signed up or are otherwise entirely unsuitable before you speak to some that are good. Good sales managers of course recognize this fact and look at averages rather than anecdotal data, but that’s not always the case.

To make things more difficult, especially for the larger brokers, a lot of leads that come in are not directly driven by advertising. For example some trader wrote about your company on a Russian trading forum, and next thing you know sales is on the phone complaining about a bunch of Russian leads the sales people cannot do anything with.

From my perspective a lot of this can of course be solved by good communication and great people. But if you are a mid to large sized broker, another solution worth looking into is some of the more advanced marketing automation and CRM work. With a marketing automation tool, brokers can send emails or start workflows based on lead behaviour, but it is also used to score leads for quality. So when a lead exhibits certain behaviour you can give that lead a higher quality score then others and route that lead to Sales with priority. If you have too many leads to deal with or cannot take leads from certain countries (for instance) you can also stop those leads from reaching sales people all together, and just send a flow of automated emails instead of wasting sales’ time.

In the end this is a project that should probably be marketing-led with close cooperation from the sales and IT departments. It doesn’t only solve the issue of lead quality, when done right it will help increase conversion rates, customer retention and trading. It will also help the marketing department to buy better advertising. Rather than just relying on a discreet number of leads or accounts generated, you now have close to real-time data on lead quality, which can be used as input for optimizations.

If you are a small broker, and this all sounds like overkill, another option is to make the routing of leads to sales people the responsibility of the marketing team. You will get a direct and first hand feeling of the quality of leads, and can do the first segmentation based on aspects such as the country used or the usage of the demo platform.

Whichever way you go, sending only the better quality leads to the sales team, or clearly labeling the worse quality ones will do the trick; fewer unexpected calls from the sales team about the quality of leads.

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