Lead Qualification Feed

Beyond Alignment: 5 Ways to Integrate Sales and Marketing Teams

LisaCannon_headshot-2014Getting 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.

Continue reading "Beyond Alignment: 5 Ways to Integrate Sales and Marketing Teams" »

Create four qualified prospects for each product you have to sell.

IStock_000000692331Small (1)Qualified leads are best. Qualified leads are what every sales rep dreams about. But to find qualified leads in less sophisticated companies you'll have to kiss 8-12 frogs (unqualified prospects). In more experienced companies, with sophisticated qualification techniques, they'll create fewer unqualified inquiries to find a qualified prospect with need, desire to buy,and time frame. Qualified sales leads (whether self-qualified or post-inquiry qualified):

  1. Reduce prospecting time.
  2. Reduce the sales cycle.
  3. Increase revenue as qualified lead count surges.
  4. Increase the percentage of salespeople making quota.
  5. Reduce sales territory turnover (as more people make quota).

To create qualified leads and be a revenue marketer you have to:

  1. Constantly measure how many self-qualified versus unqualified leads you are creating.
  2. Create as many self-qualified leads as possible (get questions answered by the prospects so you know if they are potential buyers and how soon they will buy).
  3. Decide if you can send the self-qualified leads (once they have qualified themselves) to your salespeople directly without first nurturing, etc.
  4. Qualify the unqualified leads via emails, calls, and nurturing prior to sending the qualified leads to sales representatives.
  5. Measure the closed sales that result from the qualified and unqualified leads.
  6. Repeat what works; delete what fails.

Why it Matters:

Qualified leads reduce the cost of sales and increase

revenue while reducing the sales cycle.

Continue reading "Create four qualified prospects for each product you have to sell." »

Don’t Be Short-Sighted with your Website Marketing Strategy:The Value of Multiple POAs

Guest Blogger:  Scott Buresh Buresh-high-res

Many website owners now realize that actively steering visitors toward a clear POA (point-of-action) on their site is critical for increasing the website

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REVTalks: The Revenue Marketing Summit: The Journey Begins January 27, 2014

What is REVTalks? Slma-recommended-125x125

The SLMA Management strongly recommends that every CMO should attend this program.  The cost is pocket change, the expected results on attendees is immense.  

Revenue Marketing is the strategy that transforms marketing from a cost center to a revenue center.

 On January 27, 20134, four hundred marketing executives will gather to discuss, listen to and share the innovative, inventive and transformational ideas affecting Revenue Marketing today – all in a Ted Talks style.

Register Now

Continue reading "REVTalks: The Revenue Marketing Summit: The Journey Begins January 27, 2014" »

Top 3 Ways to Determine if a Database Provider is Legitimate

By Tim Slevin, President & CEO of Healthcare Data Solutions

20818610_500There are a lot of database companies out there, and most of them are legitimate businesses that want to develop lasting customer relationships by providing quality data and service. But a small percentage of these companies are definitely not reputable, and if you’re not careful, you can lose money on a bad deal.

To help you determine if a database provider is legitimate, I’ve compiled a list of the top 3 things that you should do before signing any contracts or paying any money.

  1. Look up their physical address.
    Chances are a company run out of somebody’s garage isn’t going to have good quality data. Make sure the address on Google is an actual business, and not a residential home on Zillow or a fast food restaurant.
  2. Research them on LinkedIn.
    Every reputable, legitimate company these days either has a page of their own on LinkedIn, or at the very least, their employees have profiles there. I would be very leery of a company – database or otherwise – that didn’t appear there at all.
  3. Set the specs for a sample.
    If you ask a data company to give you a sample of their data, you can bet they’re going to give you the most pristine, clean, perfect records they have available. But you can also bet that these records will not be representative of the actual quality of their data as a whole. Give them a set of criteria that allows for companies that you know to come up in their sample. If those companies are not in the sample, or if the data they have on them is outdated, that’s a red flag.

Listen Now:
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BANT is not dead…And not Bunk!

BANT is not dead…

Some say that BANT is dead. BANT, if you remember, is the acronym for qualification criteria for a lead which represents:

1. Budget
2. Authority
3. Need
4. Timeframe IStock_000017286981Small

Some marketers will attempt to get a rise out of others by declaring that these criteria are wrong, and then they proceed to add other qualification criteria and still include some form of BANT.

The reasoning for declaring BANT dead is misleading; and it is usually a marketer that is making the declaration. Not a salesperson.

If you ask a salesperson what their qualification criteria for an inquiry, sales lead, suspect or prospect is (pick you poison), they will always say,

Continue reading "BANT is not dead…And not Bunk!" »

There’s no such thing as an old sales lead!

Salespeople are known for:

1. Following up only 10-25% of the inquiries given to them.

2. ‘Downgrading’ a lead after about four weeks if they haven’t yet called the prospect. At that point, reps consider the lead old and would rather follow up with “fresh” leads. Translated this means: “I haven’t followed up and I am embarrassed to do it now; so I will say I did, but I won’t, and I’ll look for fresh, new, urgent leads. I will send an email instead.”

3. ‘Downgrading’ a lead that doesn’t have an immediate (plans to buy within 3 months) need. Once the lead finds its way into the sales funnel, reps most likely forget about it and look for a new, better, fresh lead. Then they think an email is follow-up.

4. Dumping a lead if the person inquired before and didn’t buy. Maybe the rep will send an email.

5. Ignoring an inquiry if there is no phone number; the rep instantly knows this person isn’t serious. Maybe an email will fulfill their obligation.

6. Considering an inquiry DOA, dead on arrival, if there is a “Gmail” or “Hotmail” email address. By sending an email, maybe a real person will surface. If that person is serious, the rep will follow up.

Want another six reasons for lack of follow-up? It’d be easy to give them to you. Same result.

This is why, in spite of research indicating a 45% buying rate of even unqualified inquiries, reps only follow up 10-25%.

I am amazed how they know which exact 25% to follow up, and how they identify the deadbeats. (Of course, even with a 25% follow-up they’re still only talking to half the buyers, if they guessed right. Not likely.) So the rep who follows up 25% will only statistically talk to 25% of the buyers. What a waste!

"The only way I know to fix the issue is to make sales lead follow-up a condition of employment for all sales representatives" IStock_000017061397Small employ

Oh, by the way, research not only says that 45% of the inquiries will buy in one year. Another 10-15% will buy in three months, and another 26% in six months.

So, if the majority of sales leads are ignored by the majority of salespeople, the rep who follows up older leads will have a 3-to-1 advantage. The rep who follows up all leads until the lead buys or dies, will reap a better return on their time with less stress

How do you fix this?

The only way I know to fix the issue is to make sales lead follow-up a condition of employment for all sales representatives. Inquiries, whether qualified or unqualified, need to be contacted. Their status makes no difference: 100% follow-up is the only answer and you give salespeople no choice. You make them do what they don’t want to do, but are glad afterward that they did.

How many “ghost” leads does your company get every month?

The majority of companies produce 20%-30% more total inquiries and leads a month than company executives realize, but these leads are not counted, distributed or measured. The “leads” sneak into the company through phone calls (reception, company president, customer service), emails, unrecorded leads in trade show booths, etc. I call these “ghost leads.” These inquiries are not entered into the CRM system, and fulfillment is scant at best. Certainly there is no count. Marketing appears to be less effective than it really is when measured by the numbers, follow-up suffers, and nurturing is non-existent. 

IStock_000000692331SmallWhen this happens, unbeknown to anyone in the company, lead generation sources appear to be under performing and leads are not processed or sent to the right sales channels. These “ghost leads” may turn into sales, or they may not; no one will know.  Let's look at it this way.  Every lead has a 50% chance of turning into cold-hard-cash for you.  Money.   Fewer leads equals fewer sales.  Less revenue.  

If a company “counts” 200 inquiries and qualified leads a month, they are mostly likely producing 235 to 255 a month. That difference is a big deal. 35-55 are ghost leads. Half are buyers (or would be buyers if anyone knew about them).

Get 1,000 inquiries a month, there is a good chance you have 200-225 ghost leads that are iqnored.  The goal to avoid “ghost leads” is to gain control over the portals of entry into the company. 

 Count them all - - every last stinking one of the people who contact you from every portal of entry into the company.  

Let no lead and its source go uncounted. Narrow down and control the portals of entry. Make sure every incoming phone call identified as an inquiry is funneled into the CRM system. Make sure every email that asks for information is entered into the system. Don’t allow salespeople to keep the leads from small local shows; send them to corporate.

Count all inquiries in a month, not just the unique visitors. Good sites with lots of content find that up to 25-30% of visitors are not unique, that includes people who fill out landing-page or contact-us forms. Some companies consider these duplicates and do not count or process the forms. On the other hand, some say duplicate inquiries buy at a higher rate than single-entry, one-time-only leads.

What’s my advice? Count them all - every last stinking one of the people who contact you from every portal of entry into the company. Treat them all equally. Watch the count zoom upward. Sales will follow.

What good is helpful information if you keep it locked up?

9694511_sHow many of you are over the fact that when you click on a helpful or interesting headline the first thing you need to do is fill out a form to view it? This is typical on Twitter and LinkedIn.  Time to practice combatting what we rant about regularly.  The SLMA.com website has had a wonderful library of articles for members to read. They were required to login and then they had access.

This doesn't help everyone who just doesn't feel like remembering one more password. Our article authors take a lot of time to write these articles. We want to share their information with everyone - member or non-member. So we have gone through and made EVERY article on SLMA.com public.

Members wll be required to login in order to nominate and vote for the 50 Most Influential in Sales Lead Management each year. Members will be required to login to nominate for the 20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management, as well. We may have one or two items like that requiring login, but information, articles and whitepapers are available to all as of this week!

Visit: http://salesleadmgmtassn.com/b2b-articles.htm to see what we mean! Oh, and don't miss the more recently added b2c page: http://salesleadmgmtassn.com/b2c-articles.htm.

There is a wealth of information sorted by topic. If you haven't logged in lately, or just never bothered, this is a great time to read some of our articles, including these topics:

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Trade Show Lead Acquisition & Management Video: Lead Generation and Lead Management White Papers
By: +Susan Finch

"Never mistake motion for action,” said Ernest Hemingway

Just generating a bunch of inquiries and leads from different sources…I consider that to be ‘motion.’ ‘Action’ occurs when you have a system in place to ensure 100% follow-up of the results over an extended time (an average sales cycle).

When inquiries are abandoned by sales reps at alarming rates (75-90% are said to be never followed-up by a sales representative), the marketing department has to pick up the chore and finish the lead nurturing job.

I know for a fact - the companies that nurture and follow-up 100% of their inquiries and turn what is “turn-able” into leads sell more than those that don’t; 200%-400% more is not uncommon

There is enough research from the marketing automation companies to know that this is no longer just an opinion but established fact. If you want to get the greatest return on your lead generation ‘spend,’ you have two choices:

1. Salespeople must follow-up 100% of the inquiries and not give up until the inquirer says they have bought or will not be buying.

2. Marketing will nurture the inquiry until it is ready to turn over to Sales, or will nurture it during the salesperson’s follow-up process. The two departments will be co-equals in pursuing the inquiries/leads until the person buys or dies.

While both Sales and Marketing are responsible for ‘action,’ Marketing needs to take the lead in determining who will do what and in establishing the timetable.

Have you mistaken motion for action?

Do you have customers who mistake motion for action? Tell us about it. Did you create a sales lead management system? How did it work out for you?