The sales lead black hole: On sales reps' follow-up of marketing leads

Gaurav Sabnis, Sharmila C. Chatterjee, Rajdeep Grewal, Gary L. Lilien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The sales lead black hole-the 70% of leads generated by marketing departments that sales representatives do not pursue-may result from competing demands on sales reps' time. Using the motivation-opportunity-ability framework, the authors consider factors that influence sales reps' pursuit (or lack thereof) of marketing and selfgenerated leads. The proportion of time that sales reps devote to marketing leads depends on organizational lead prequalification and managerial tracking processes (extrinsic motivation), as well as marketing lead volume (opportunity), and sales rep experience and performance (ability). Consistent with a person-situation framework, individual sales rep factors should also moderate the influence of organizational processes on lead follow-up. Data from 461 sales reps employed by four firms confirm that as sales reps' experience increases, their responses to managerial tracking of lead follow-up and marketing lead volume decrease; responses to the quality of the lead prequalification process increase. As sales reps' performance improves, their response to the volume of marketing leads increases, but their response to managerial tracking decreases. The interplay of individual sales reps' abilities and organizational marketing and sales processes explains differences in sales reps' follow-up of marketing leads.'

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-67
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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