leadsYou can’t depend on your marketing department to generate real leads.

Do you really think marketing can qualify your leads? If so, you can forget about exceeding quota in 2014.

Consider this example from Dan McDade, president and CEO of PointClear: The marketing department for one unnamed company generated more than 9,000 “sales leads” in a year, but only 1.28 percent were actually qualified. When presented with these findings, marketing said sourcing leads was so important that they would keep sending them to sales without qualifying them first. You can probably guess what the vice president of sales told his team: Just ignore all leads from marketing, because they suck.

In his article, “Point C: From Chaos to Kickass,” Dan writes:

In average companies, sales reps close about one out of five leads they qualify. Note that, on average, sales reps only qualify about one third of the leads they are provided—so close rates measured against delivered leads are often less than 10 percent in average companies.

Enhancing lead generation is a top priority for any sales organization. But investing in more lead-sourcing technology is not the answer, nor is inbound marketing or social media. The only way to keep your pipeline full of HOT, qualified leads is to prospect through referrals.

To learn all about the role of technology and referrals in sales, get your copy of my new book: Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. It’s been nominated as the “2013 Top Sales and Marketing Book” by Top Sales World. (I’d appreciate your vote to bring this important message to all salespeople. Visit the awards page to vote once every 24 hours.)

Plus, check out the latest from No More Cold Calling:

We’re Smarter Than Our Buyers

When prospects come to us, they have problems that need to be solved—pain that needs addressing. They know it hurts, but they’re often unclear about exactly why and how to correct the problem. This is where great salespeople really add value. We know our industries, our products, and (most importantly) our clients. So with little investigating, we can show them the source of their pain and offer solutions to alleviate it. (Read “We’re Smarter Than Our Buyers.”)

One Hour Without Technology

As executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt is often invited to deliver commencement speeches at college graduations. What’s the one surprising piece of advice this tech guru always shares? Turn off the technology for at least an hour a day. I challenge my readers to do the same thing. After all, there is nothing more important for salespeople than relationships, and if you can’t prioritize people over technology for one hour a day, you’re in the wrong field. (Read “One Hour Without Technology.”)

Don’t Have Time to Nurture Your Network?

As a smart, strategic sales professional, you understand the value of building and maintaining a strong network of clients and referral sources. It’s hard to make time to meet with all of them in person, but you’ve got to eat, so why not kill two birds with one stone? One of my clients instructs his sales reps to book five lunches and four breakfasts each week. That’s nine meetings a week! (Read “Don’t Have Time to Nurture to Nurture Your Network?”)

Look at Me When You’re Talking to Me

Is technology killing eye contact? When we’re constantly checking our phones to make sure we’re not missing something “out there,” are we actually missing out on opportunities to connect with the people right in front of us? In average conversations, adults make eye contact between 30 and 60 percent of the time. But studies show that people should be making eye contact 60 to 70 percent of the time to create a sense of emotional connection. (Read “Look at Me When You’re Talking to Me.”)

Message to Management: The 2 Biggest Coaching Mistakes You’re Making Right Now

Sales execs recognize that coaching contributes to performance. But by how much? And how are they supposed to find the time? Guest blogger Tris Brown, chairman and CEO of LSA Global, outlines some of the coaching mistakes we make and shares strategic coaching best practices. Read “Message to Management: The 2 Biggest Coaching Mistakes You’re Making Right Now.”)

Pick Up the Damn Phone and Seal the Deal

You’ve heard it: Television will kill radio. Video killed the radio star. And social media and the Internet will eliminate the time-consuming, face-to-face aspect of sales. Um, no. Even in Sales 2.0, the most powerful tool in your sales toolbox is still you!

My new book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology Seal the Deal, explores how salespeople can tap into the invaluable sales intelligence that new technologies provide and still prioritize what really matters in business—relationships.

Pick Up the Damn Phone! is now available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Or get the digital version for your Kindle or Nook.

Joanne Black Nominated for Four Top Sales World Awards

Joanne is honored to have been nominated in four categories for this year’s Top Sales World Awards, including “Top Sales and Marketing Article,” “Top Sales and Marketing Blog,” “Top Sales and Marketing Book,” and “Top Sales and Marketing Video.” Please show your support by casting your vote today. (Note: You can vote once per category every 24 hours.)