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Gaps In Your Sales Lead Management Process?

Sales Lead GapsIDC sent out a press release yesterday about its latest study, from its CMO Advisory Practice, of IT vendor’s best practices in sales lead management.

Some key findings, summarized in the press release, include:

– Fifty percent of these tech vendors’ marketing investment is allocated to demand generation and a third of that is targeted to directly support the sales force.

– A majority of tech vendors fail to provide for even the most basic need of establishing a consistent global definition of a lead.

– Other failure points include data collection, lead qualification, sales hand-off, lead nurturing, and performance measurement.

– Only a few of the companies surveyed were able to demonstrate their impact on the sales pipeline.

None of this surprises me. Why? Because business-to-business sales leads are my consulting speciality. So I’m wrestling with these issues on behalf of my clients every day.

But as competitive as the IT industry is, and with half of their marketing investments focused on demand generation, wouldn’t you think that these tech vendors would have addressed these problems and have them licked by now?

And these sales lead problems aren’t limited to IT vendors. Far too many companies in the B2B space do a poor job of generating, nurturing, qualifying and converting leads into sales-ready opportunities and closed sales.

I guess I’ll stay busy for a while, helping all these companies to fix their sales lead programs!

If your company:

– doesn’t have a clear, agreed-to definition of a “lead”
– needs a better way to qualify leads
– has a gap handing off leads to sales for follow up
– can’t show how sales leads affect the sales pipeline
– is not doing a good job nurturing leads, collecting data or measuring performance

…then you’re in luck. Get some help now and you’ll soon see benefits in your bottom line.

– Link: IDC CMO Research Study Reveals Significant Gaps in the Lead Management Process, Though Best Practices Are Emerging
– Link: You can purchase the study itself here.

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Comments

What do you do with leads once you generate them?

This question is overlooked by almost everyone. It is often the cause of failure in what would otherwise be effective web marketing campaigns. The common-sense answer is easier said than done: Have your best employees respond to them quickly and consistently to qualify them into prospects.

Many companies spend thousands of dollars every month with Google, Yahoo, and MSN to generate clicks to their website. These same companies invest tens of thousands in building a web site to attract visitors. They even use analytical tools like Omniture, WebSideStory, or WebTrends to track these visitors and turn them into leads, only to let those leads sit in some sales manager’s inbox for 48 hours before they are contacted.

One elegant solution is to embed a web-form onto a website that captures the lead and pushes it real time into a database. It then quickly routes the lead to the best suited sales rep, a telephony tool immediately gets the rep on the phone and automatically calls and connects the lead to the rep.

Our research shows that the average salesperson only makes four to five attempts to contact them the first week. This means only 55% of a company’s web leads will actually get contacted.

It goes back to Lead Response Management: Acquire a system that immediately and systematically pushes the leads to the best qualified salespeople. A system that also allows the salespeople to immediately and frequently respond to leads and turn them into prospects. Again, this simple but overlooked approach can boost net results by 20 to 200%.

Darin Dixon
Insidesales.com

 

Darin,

I agree that you should respond quickly and consistantly to leads in order to qualify them and start building a sales-winning relationship. However,I don’t think you have to have your best employees do this job. It can be done by pre-sales specialist who is trained to follow up, nurture and qualify sales leads by phone.

Sadly, many “leads” sit in salespeople’s inboxes far longer than 48 hours. Sadder still, many never get followed up at all.

With this in mind, marketing needs to step up and take responsibility for the follow up, nurture and qualify stages, delivering only the sales-ready leads for sales to follow up.

And, as three-in-four B2B sales come from the longer-term sales leads–the same leads that are often ignored by salespeople who need sales now in order to meet quota and earn commissions–this additioanl work by marketing can have a big payoff!

 

Most CRM are intended for B2C and not for B2B.

After getting clicks and thus visitors on your website, a service should be available to identify the company names of the visitors.

  • Don’t wait until these visitors fill in an online form: only 2% will ever do this. Thus 98% is lost.
  • Once visitors are identified by company name, their interest should be evaluated: qualify as lead or not. This can be done by:
  • the pages visited, time on pages;
  • search terms used;
  • number of returns;
  • information on the company (should be available without any effort).

Every possible lead from your website should immediately be addressed to the appropriate salesman.
Problem is: how to get salesman interested and making him return to the application and his leads.
Simple: Make him curious about the reaction of the potential customer, information to be found within the solution.

 

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For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com