How leads are managed makes the difference between a squandered investment or a measurable return on investment!
This article in its complete form has been published on the eti Sales Support sales and marketing blog. Go here to read the complete story with nine recommendations to solve the issue of perishable leads.
When your company spends money on lead generation, the clock starts ticking; each inquiry has a life span. Some of the leads may take a year to buy, some take six months, and some will take a few months, or a few days.
Michael Falkson, CEO of eti Sales Support, said, “ETI’s experience shows that 80% of inquiries will convert into Market Qualified Leads within 18 business hours. Your chances of success, thereafter, fall dramatically“.
The certainty is that a group of leads from a given month has a life span. Each month a few make a decision and disappear; they are dead to you.
Why it matters:
Fast responders sell more than those who are slow, sluggish, unhurried, leisurely, and dawdling in pursuit of a prospect.
In this replay of a live program broadcast last week, CEO Alex Terry and CMO Carl Landers of Conversica drill into how artificial intelligence is being used to generate sales. AI is said to be different from autoresponders in that the system interprets intention and sentiment, avoids lost leads, and helps to surface those that intend to buy. In the interview with host Jim Obermayer, Alex and Carl make good on the promise that AI is the future for intelligent proactive lead generation. Highpoints:
- An artificial intelligence system has a persona that works the lead
- The persona acts as a sales assistant.
- Sales at-bat conversations jump 80-90%
- The AI system crafts messages based on data from thousands of data points.
- The AI system decides what leads will be most likely to close.
- Dramatic increases in sales are often the result as the salesperson only spends valuable time on the hottest leads.
Alex Terry, Chief Executive Officer
Alex is an accomplished general manager and leader with over 20 years of management experience
In this program marketing and sales veteran Paul Petersen, GM and Vice President at Goldmine Software discuss ways marketing should follow the money. He covers:
- How to evaluate marketing performance.
- Why typical measurements take too long.
- How financial quick ratios can relate to marketing.
- What is a marketing quick ratio?
- What happens when marketing gets the "bear" into the cabin and sales has to skin it?
- Why sales and marketing have to have the conversation about leads that were not accepted by sales.
- How Won and Lost reports can follow the money.
Listen by clicking the green arrow.
The host is SLMA Founder, Internet Radio producer, four time author and conference speaker Jim Obermayer.
Some B2B marketers know exactly what accounts are in their target market. What a luxury! These marketers can eliminate the old “spray and pray,” and focus all their attention and investment in a finite universe of prospects and current customers. It’s almost like mass customized selling, with maximum coverage and minimal waste. Best of all, a number of new tools and tactics are now available to do the marketing job efficiently.
I’ve been involved a few situations like this recently. At DMA14 in San Diego, I heard a fascinating talk by Mark Rentschler, marketing director at Makino, a large manufacturer of machine tools. They have spent a few years building a database of the 6,000 accounts they already do business with in North America, plus another 6,000 prospective accounts. Makino’s approach? “Laser focus,” says Rentschler. “These are the accounts we pay attention to.”
Last week, the Sales Lead Management Association posted an article discussing the sales industry’s struggles with lead follow-up.
It pointed out that marketing automation and CRM are important tools, but they don’t completely solve the problem -- even when used in tandem.
Sales acceleration technology is the missing piece. It sits between marketing automation and CRM platforms, and keeps the assembly line moving.
When it comes to lead follow-up, industry studies have taught us most reps give up before even making a second attempt. However, if they persist to six tries, chances of making contact reach about 90 percent.
Sales acceleration technology dramatically improves productivity, allowing reps to follow up on leads more quickly and persistently. And with automatic data capture to CRM, leads stop falling through the cracks.
It’s been reported that 79 percent of marketing leads never convert to sales, so it’s important for
George was a new sales representative with the company. As part of his on-boarding he noticed in his job description and in the briefing from his sales manager that when it came to sales leads there were expectations of him as outlined in the Rules for Sales Lead Management. “Well,” he said, “I’m not used to it but the rules are spelled out, I have to follow-up and report on every lead as a condition of employment.”
Something similar happened to Jessie who started in marketing a week or so later. She was surprised to read in her job description that the company had rules which stated that in order to maximize the return on marketing’s investment she would have to forecast the sales results for a campaign before the campaign launched and measure the results afterward. She agreed to it, although she remarked to her manager that she’d have to learn how to do it.
Both of these new employees experienced a set of sales lead management rules for sales and marketing that were designed by someone in the company to maximize the efficacy of the sales process.
Getting sales and marketing teams into alignment is a hot topic lately, and for good reason. According to a study from the Aberdeen Group, highly aligned marketing and sales organizations achieved an average of 32% year over year revenue growth, while their less-aligned competitors saw a seven percent decrease in revenue. And MarketingProfs has found that organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions enjoyed 36% higher customer retention rates. So if we all agree that alignment is critical, and the data proves that it provides tangible business benefits, why isn’t everyone doing it?
It’s simple. Making fundamental changes to the way we work can be extremely difficult. But maybe the problem isn’t that sales and marketing aren’t aligned. Maybe the problem is that alignment just isn’t enough.
Listen While You Work: Why is lead management a failure... Leads are like Bananas...Radio Interview with Richard Brock
SLMA Radio brings you the voices of industry leaders!
Richard Brock, thought of by many as the "Father of CRM", pulled no punches in talking about failure of lead management in so many companies.
He says companies fail because marketing and sales teams are like dogs and cats, but they are learning they need each other. The old way of nurturing is failing, he says. Marketing must establish credibility and then this opens the door for salespeople to have the conversations. Leads are like bananas he says, some are too green to eat right away, when they get old and brown it can't be eaten. Timing is everything. CRM today has to be more than record keeping. Richard is outspoken as always.
To date: 1501 people have listened to this program.
Corporate growth, good or bad, can be traced to sales lead follow-up! It counts more than product quality, brand name, or money spent on marketing. Once you achieve critical mass on follow-up (90%), it is within your power to accurately control your future by spending on marketing programs with predictable outcomes and growing the sales force. When you achieve this follow-up, a stunning cascade of events occurs:
1. Sales forecasts are met.