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Solve a sales slump with older inquiries and jump-start sales

IStock_000008941429SmallThe majority of companies that enter a quarter in dire straits can solve revenue and profit shortfalls simply by mining sales inquiries generated in the previous 12 months. If there is no database of these prospects, the company gets what it deserves. But if you have a database of inquirers, read on. (If not, stop here and go get a Jack Daniels because you are going to need it.) 

The reason this works is three-fold:

  1. The majority of inquirers (sales leads, some might say) haven’t bought yet.
  2. Unlike new inquirers, they have already approached you at least once and now have some information from you (most of the time).
  3. If you are an average company, 25% of the inquirers have heard from your salesperson anyway (and this is the problem, but we can’t solve that here). 

Management’s first inclination is to ask the salespeople to follow up all of the previous inquiries. Stubborn salespeople may or may not do it. If they were dumb enough to skip follow-up the first time, why do you think they will do it the second time you ask? 

Go to an Outside Service

Results come faster, much faster, if you go to an outbound telesales services company to make the calls for you. 2,000 inquiries will require a conservative 120-166 hours of telemarketing time to make one call into the list. On average, telesales reps will speak with 332 inquirers. If they are calling easy-to- speak-to people, they may talk to 500 or more. If they are going after F1000 IT managers, they may only speak with 125.

Let’s say they speak to 332 inquirers. In that case, you will probably generate a new lead in one out of every three hours of calling (remember they know who you are). This is 55 (in round numbers) “newly hot” people. This is conservative. Leave voice mail messages for the rest. Send a special email to every one of the 55.

Make two more passes through the list. The results will be slightly less each time, but you will then have 90 to 125 reasonably hot people. Yes, some telesales people will promise more, but if you live with these numbers you will see a solid sales result.

  1. These are more likely to be hot.
  2. More proposals and quotes will come from them.
  3. Many will say, I talked to the rep; have him or her call me again. 

What about the cost?

Consider that you’ve already spent about $100,000 for the 2,000 inquiries at an average cost of say, $50 each. The cost for a telesales program such as this will be about $18K. It can be completed within three weeks, but you can stretch it out to four-to-six weeks. Some companies will charge more (set-up fees, monthly management fees, reporting fee) but generally, you will not spend less than $15,000, and seldom more than $22,000.

The cost is insignificant,

and the results oh so sweet. 

Let’s take the high number, $22,000. You have now spent another $11 per inquiry. You have generated an additional 125 hot leads from the group that already knows you. Sales will close faster because they know you. Your fourth quarter is saved if another $300K can save your butt. Out of the 125 inquiries, you can assume 40% will go to quotes, bids, and proposals. You will get 40% on the short side and closer to 50% on the high side. Remember, these are qualified.

If your product is worth $10,000, this measly, tiny, pocket-change figure of $22,000 will bring you $300,000 in sales. If the product is worth $20,000, cash in $600,000. And so on. Some of these sales may go beyond the quarter.

Yes, the geeks in the crowd will run the numbers and see everything is rounded. There are a lot of variables, and mileage will vary. Results can only be better. 

The cost is insignificant, and the results oh so sweet.

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