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Increasing B2B Lead Management ROI: 4 Key Performance Indicators

Although the findings are not news to me or my clients, a recent research study about increasing B2B sales lead management ROI is worth mentioning.

Why? Because it validates some of what I’ve been recommending to my clients for years.

B2B sales lead management KPIs

The Forrester research study and white paper about sales lead management, commissioned by Silverpop, reports that when it comes to increasing the ROI from B2B sales lead management, there are four key performance indicators (KPIs) that pay off in more qualified leads and sales.

The numbered items below are the four KPIs from the white paper, but the comments about each are mine:
 

  1. Profiling and targeting. By understanding your customers and using them as a model for the right prospects to target with your lead generation activities, and by targeting those right prospects, you will get a better ROI.
  2. Lead scoring. This is the latest name for the process of determining which leads are qualified leads that meet the minimum definition of a “sales-ready lead.” Lead scoring provides us with the criteria for determining which leads need further development and which are ready for sales follow-up.
  3. Content. Developing and offering information that meets the needs of your prospects, particularly as they move from awareness to inquiry to consideration and on to purchase, is essential both for getting prospects to identify themselves to you and for helping move your prospects forward in their buying process.
  4. Nurture early-stage buyers. B2B research about sales leads repeatedly shows that the B2B buyers who are still in the early stages of their buying process represent three out of four of the total sales opportunities you will net from your leads. Only one in four sales opportunities comes from those prospects who are already at the later stages of their buying process.

Want a quick summary of how to take advantage of these four KPIs? Read my short post titled B2B Sales Lead Generation Is Easy: Four Rights Will Get You There.

What are your thoughts about the four KPIs that increase the ROI from B2B sales lead management?

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Comments

We’ve been doing a lot of stories on lead follow-up post trade shows. Most people are focused on getting the leads but following up with the qualified ones is just as, if not more important. Most of the time the follow-up isn’t there. Sometimes it’s a disconnect between marketing and sales. Marketing is handing over something they think is valuable while sales is challenged with a stack of leads that isn’t worth much.

 

I wonder how the concept of sales triggers come into play with lead management ROI. A number of companies I know rely on such triggers as management change, M&A, etc. as their entry attempts into new accounts. Do you have suggestions on how to best integrate this concept in lead mgmt ROI? Further, do you know of companies that offer sales trigger alert services (there is inside view – but they are not accurate; and http://www.ctosonthemove.com – but they are only IT execs-focused)? Thank you for your input. JS

 

James, you are correct that there is often a disconnect between marketing and sales.

The biggest disconnect to affect leads is the definition used to determine which leads are qualified, sales-ready opportunities. Salespeople will follow up leads they believe are qualified.

If marketing uses the same qualified lead definition as sales, leads won’t be wasted and those which are not yet sales-ready opportunities can be nurtured by marketing until they are (this finds the 3-out-of-4 sales opportunities that come from longer-term leads).

– Mac

 

Jenna, as you know B2B sales can be triggered by events related to your prospective customer or her company.

For example, they may have landed a new client or be expanding, creating a need for your product or services. Or they may have hired a new executive, giving you a new sales opportunity now that the guy who wouldn’t return your calls has moved on.

In addition to the companies you mentioned that serve up sales-trigger information about your prospects and customers, SalesFuel comes to mind.

You can also find some trigger information for free by using Google Alerts to update you when any news containing specific keywords or phrases hits the Internet.

Readers, can you add to the list of companies or services related to sales triggers?

– Mac

 

Trade show leads present a challenge unlike most B2B leads. Most exhibitors use the lead systems from the show, which can change from event to event. The person recording the lead may only do that for one show, unlike a career telemarketer or a website landing page with mandatory fields.

We repeatedly preach to our trade show clients the need to follow up, follow up, follow up on leads generated at the show. They’ve invested a lot to take qualified people (they paid their own money to go to a show and see products) further in the sales cycle (only way other than a sales call to get face to face with the prospect, and armed with sales tools in the booth).

We find reasons trade show leads don’t get follow up are:
1. Not enough qualifying information written down about the lead on a lead card or in an electronic lead system, showing interest level and willingness to meet with a sales person…so even if the prospect wants to meet, the sales person doesn’t know it.
2. The booth staffers were not trained to ask and record the information needed to qualify leads, as determined by sales. So the sales people don’t feel the leads are qualified.
3. Lead follow up gets pushed aside because the sales people who were booth staffer now have to follow up on the leads — but they are digging out from being gone at the show.
4. Lead follow up packets (brochures, cover letter) were not prepared before the show started to allow for follow up right after the show (or even during it).

Fortunately, these are not insurmountable issues, but issues that can be resolved with communication, teamwork, and planning.

 

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