Entries Tagged as 'B2B marketing tools'

Marketing-for-Leads Guide: Step 6 – How many inquiries needed?

Step 6: Determine how many new inquiries or responses are needed to generate enough qualified sales leads to meet your goals.

Blog Post of the Week Boost Your Company's Sales with Marketing The Sales Lead Calculator will help you determine how many new inquiries you need to generate enough qualified sales leads to meet your sales revenue goals. (See Step 5.)

Research conducted on B2B sales lead conversion across industries shows that, of those who buy:

  • One in four buys within six months.
  • Another one in four buys within the next six months.
  • Another one in four buys within the third six months.
  • The final one in four buys after eighteen months.

Simply said, three out of four sales opportunities are from the longer-term leads. So even though it may be tempting to create an occasional, dramatic marketing program that drums up a large number of new leads—so you can skim the ones that are ready to buy now—you are actually better off investing in an ongoing series of marketing-for-leads programs.

To download the complete guide as a PDF, visit B2B Marketing-for-Leads Guide.

To get those additional three out of four sales opportunities, use direct marketing to nurture your longer-term sales opportunities until they are sales-ready. Consider creating a series of marketing messages that rotate through, say, the three biggest benefits of your products or services and related offers or calls-to-action. Send them to prospects monthly—one, two, three, repeat—effectively staying in-sight and top-of-mind as prospects move from awareness to inquiry, then from inquiry to consideration and purchase.


Marketing-for-Leads Guide: Step 5 – Calculate how many qualified sales leads will you need

Step 5: Determine how many qualified sales leads are needed to meet your sales revenue goals.

Boost Your Company's Sales with MarketingTo calculate what you will need, consider using my “Sales Lead Calculator”.

This interactive spreadsheet was designed specifically for B2B marketers. It automatically performs a series of calculations based on information you provide about your company’s sales revenue targets, average close rate, sales price and so forth, giving you a realistic number of leads needed to meet your sales objectives.

Using the dollar figures and percentages you enter, the spreadsheet will automatically calculate the following for you:

  • Revenue needed from marketing leads this fiscal year
  • New customers needed this fiscal year
  • Qualified leads needed
  • Total inquiries needed
  • Total marketing contacts you need to “touch” in order to meet your goals
  • Lead-generation budget
  • Lead-generation budget as a percentage of sales
  • Average cost per inquiry
  • Average cost per qualified lead
  • Average cost per sale
  • Inquiries needed per salesperson this fiscal year
  • Qualified leads needed per salesperson this fiscal year
  • Qualified leads needed per salesperson per month

The Sales Lead Calculator not only gives you the total number of contact touches you require to meet your sales goal, it also gives you the number of contact touches needed per quarter and per month. Why? Because contacting 1,000 people twelve times a year will get you more qualified leads than contacting 12,000 people once.

To download the complete Marketing-for-Leads Guide as a PDF, visit B2B Marketing-for-Leads Guide.

A final consideration about the Sales Lead Calculator is the length of time it takes to close a sale. For example, if you have a six-month sales cycle, you should aim for twice as many leads as the calculator suggests. Why? Because if it takes six months to close a sale to a lead, half the leads you will get this year will close too late to affect the current year’s sales goal.

Consider using the Sales Lead Calculator in a meeting with your top sales and finance executives.

Use it to answer questions like these:

  • What lead generation budget will we need to meet our sales revenue goals?
  • What impact will spending more per touch have on our lead generation budget?
  • How will our average response rate affect our overall results?
  • How will the numbers change if we increase our average order size?

Marketing-for-Leads Guide: Step 4 – Define “qualified sales lead”

Step 4: Determine the definition of a "qualified sales lead" with which marketing, sales and corporate management agree.

Boost Your Company's Sales with MarketingYour goal as a marketer is to help generate sales. Although there are some steps in closing sales that are out of your control, what you can do is identify qualified sales leads up front. If marketing, management and sales all agree from the start on what a qualified lead is, there is a better chance that you will generate leads that are valuable to the salespeople. It’s important to confirm the definition, in writing, with all parties. The definition of a qualified lead is different for each company, and each must do the work to define its own meaning of a qualified sales lead.

Typical definitions include criteria such as the following:

  • Does the prospect have a need or an application for your product or service?
  • What is the prospect’s role in the decision-making process?
  • What is the prospect’s timing for purchase or implementation?
  • What is the status of the prospect’s budget?
  • What is the size of the opportunity?

A prospect is a contact at a company who admits to a business problem, either latently or directly, that could be solved by a product and/or service that you are selling. Your role, as a marketer, is to give the prospect hope of solving his/her company’s problem. Here are a few examples:

Problem: The company’s current disparate computer systems require employees to perform redundant data entry, thus wasting time and reducing efficiency.
Solution: Your software product would enable single data entry.

Problem: The company’s managers suspect its truck drivers are wasting time on their routes, but they don’t know for sure.
Solution: Your global positioning system would allow management to track the location of each truck at all times.

Problem: The company relies on face-to-face meetings among employees located in various parts of the country, but it has recently slashed its travel budget. It can’t afford to send the employees to meetings that require air travel.
Solution: Your web-based conferencing service would make it possible for the company’s employees to meet "virtually" in cyberspace.

In addition to having a business problem that you can solve, qualified leads

  • Have an established project in play. This is apparent if a solution task force has already been appointed or, for a small company, if the inquirer’s boss asked him/her to find a solution or make a recommendation.
  • Have the money to buy a solution, or are in the process of developing a budget.
  • Plan to purchase within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Have negotiated access to power. In other words, they can get you in front of the appropriate final decision-maker(s) when the time is right.

In addition to defining a qualified lead, you should create a glossary of standard terms defining what your company considers to be a "suspect," a "prospect," an "inquiry," a "response," a "qualified lead," a "qualified suspect," a "qualified prospect" and so forth. Again, sales, marketing and management need to agree on the definition of each term. This will avoid confusion later.

To download the complete guide as a PDF, visit B2B Marketing-for-Leads Guide.

Lead scoring can be a valuable tool as you create your qualification definitions. To score a lead, assign points based on how well the prospect meets each of your lead-qualification criteria. Consider the following example:

Funding, ready to go 5 points
Budget in formulation 3 points
No budget for project 0 points
Is the decision-maker 5 points
Is the recommender 2 points
Is an influencer 2 points
Has a clear need for product 5 points
Plans to buy within six months 5 points
Plans to buy in one year or more 1 point
Plans to buy $50,000 of product 5 points
Plans to buy less than $100 of product 0 points

To score the lead, add up all the points. Then, for example, those with 20 or more points are determined to be qualified leads; you should send them to your sales force.


Marketing-for-Leads Guide: Step 3 – How much revenue needs to come from marketing’s leads?

Step 3: Determine the percentage of your company’s new business revenue that needs to come from marketing-generated leads.

Boost Your Company's Sales with MarketingThis step in developing your marketing-for-leads plan focuses on determining how many leads your marketing programs need to generate so that the company can meet its sales revenue goals.

"Why Bother With a Marketing Plan? We’ve Got a Sales Team."

Some people may get involved in an old argument, "Why do we need marketing? We have a robust sales force that is capable of bringing in sales. Why bother with a complicated marketing plan?" The fact is, even with a capable, motivated sales team—which includes a combination of salespeople, distributors, resellers and reps—you are generating less sales revenue than you could be if you relied on the efforts of the marketing team to find new business opportunities. In addition, if you depend only on the sales team, your cost of selling is probably higher than it needs to be.

In any business-to-business sales situation, salespeople typically find, on their own, about 40 percent of the new business opportunities needed to meet their company’s sales revenue goal. They develop sales opportunities through referrals, additional projects from past customers, potential customers they meet at networking events and past customers who have moved to new companies.

All of that works well for generating sales up to a point. Salespeople working on their own don’t generally reach the other 60 percent of sales potential for some very good reasons:

  • Salespeople’s quotas and compensation programs reward them for bringing in short-term sales—this week, this month, this quarter. Therefore, they have little incentive to work the longer-term opportunities.
  • Most people generally hate the rejection that results from cold calling. Salespeople are no different. They prefer to spend time with prospects that are ready to buy now, even though in reality those buyers represent only a fraction of sales opportunities.
  • Salespeople tend to spend most of their time with current customers.

So how can marketing for leads be used to identify the other 60 percent of sales opportunities and make the sales team more efficient overall? Lead-generation tactics such as direct mail, telemarketing and events are ideal for finding qualified sales leads so that salespeople can spend each sales call where it is most likely to generate revenue. Online marketing via websites that cater to your target audience is another cost-effective way to generate leads.

What is the cost of a business-to-business sales call?

The average business-to-business sales call cost $329 in 2001, according to Cahners Research. This figure is based on responses from 23,341 businesses. Additional key findings of Cahners’ study include the following facts:

  1. A typical business-to-business sale that exceeds $35,000 takes an average of 5.12 sales calls to close.
  2. Less than 20 percent of sales efforts focus on prospective new clients.
  3. The average number of sales calls taken by customers over the phone is 4.61 per week.
  4. On average, customers have only 1.81 in-person meetings per week with salespeople.
  5. Seventy-five percent of the companies studied say that making a sale valued at more than $35,000 requires a combination of direct and indirect sales efforts.
To download the complete guide as a PDF, visit B2B Marketing-for-Leads Guide.

With the cost of a business-to-business sales call rising each year, companies cannot ignore the price tag associated with calling on prospects. By using the most efficient techniques to generate leads and investing in personal sales calls only when they have a greater potential to bring you closer to a closed sale, you automatically lower the cost of sales. The role of marketing for leads is to identify and nurture leads, moving them along to a point where the cost of a personal sales call, or a series of sales calls, becomes an investment in an actual sale.


Marketing-for-Leads Guide: Step 2 – How much new business do you need?

Step 2: Determine the percentage of your company’s revenue that needs to come from new business.

Boost Your Company's Sales with Marketing

If your corporate goal is a twenty percent increase in sales, how much new business do you need to secure to meet that goal?

Say your annual sales revenue currently totals $10 million. At first, it may appear that you only need an additional $2 million in sales to meet your new goal for next year. However, if you also need to replace twenty percent of your sales revenue every year because of non-recurring sales, you will need to find an additional $2 million in sales during the next year just to stay even. So you will actually need an additional $4 million in new sales revenue to meet your goal.

To download the complete guide as a PDF, visit B2B Marketing-for-Leads Guide.

The new-business-needed calculation

The following calculation will help you to determine the amount of sales revenue from new business your company will need to generate from marketing leads to meet its revenue goals.

  • Your company’s current annual sales revenue $ _______.
  • The percentage of business you typically lose during the course of the year
    x ________%.
  • The sales revenue from new business your company must generate during the next year just to stay even = $ ________.
  • Additional sales revenue from new business needed to meet your new target sales revenue goal + $ ________.
  • Total new business revenue needed to meet your target sales revenue goal
    = $ ________.

How Much of Your B2B Lead Generation Budget is Spent on Outsourced Telemarketing?

Blog Post of the Week
Telemarketing Budget

Have you ever read something that was completely contrary to your own experience with the subject, causing you to doubt its accuracy?

That’s what happened to me when I read Aberdeen Group’s recent report, B2B TeleServices: The 2008 Buyer’s Guide.

As a consultant who specializes in B2B sales leads, I’m frequently asked by clients to help them select outsourced telemarketing companies, and to implement or improve their outsourced telemarketing lead generation, follow-up and qualification programs. So I was looking forward to reading Aberdeen’s report, thinking it would be a useful resource.

However, I quickly turned from an eager reader to true skeptic as I read some of the findings and conclusions of the report.

For example, the report stated that the companies included in Aberdeen’s study were spending an average of 33 percent of their total lead generation budget on B2B teleservices. And those companies which Aberdeen determined were “best in class” were spending an average of 44 percent.

Based on my own, first-hand experience working on B2B sales lead programs for dozens of leading companies–large, mid-sized and small–these percentages seemed way too high.

So, to check my sanity, I informally polled a number of other industry experts. This included a few CEOs of B2B call centers, a handful B2B marketers who outsource their telemarketing for lead generation, follow up and qualification, and a few other consultants who work in and around B2B telemarketing. I asked them to read the report and let me know if they thought about those particular numbers.

What were the results of my small, informal poll?

While some of the numbers in the report appeared to be more realistic, 100 percent of those I polled agreed that Aberdeen’s percentage of lead generation budget numbers were way too high.

The B2B telemarketing company CEOs wished that their clients actually were actually spending 33 percent to 44 percent of their lead generation budgets on outsourced teleservices. Instead, they reported that their clients are spending far less.

In the opinion of fellow consultant and friend, Michael A. Brown, the Business to Business By Phone® expert, “The Aberdeen numbers (about the percentage of lead generation budgets spent on outsourced teleservices) can’t be correct. They just don’t ring true.”

The sampling of B2B marketers I polled, all users of outsourced telemarketing services as part of their lead generation, follow-up and qualification programs, said that the budget percentage numbers reported by Aberdeen were significantly higher than their own spending.

Michael Brown polled a few of his own clients too. They told him that they believe that the average B2B lead generation budget percentages for outsourced teleservices should be less than half those reported by Aberdeen.

Although my own small, informal poll isn’t statistically valid, perhaps the sampling of companies that Aberdeen studied wasn’t truly representative either. Or perhaps those surveyed by Aberdeen exaggerated their spending. Who knows?

Regardless, I’m sad to say that my skepticism of the high lead generation budget percentage numbers reported by Aberdeen causes me to question all the other numbers in their buyer’s guide as well.

How about you?

What percentage of your B2B lead generation budget is allocated for outsourced teleservices?

Need help with B2B lead generation, marketing and sales?
For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com