Sales Lead Management Feed

Nothing will spoil a manager’s life like too much truth!

IStock-639045058Actually, Will Rogers said, "Nothing will spoil a big man’s life like too much truth."  Big or small, man or woman, the truth can cause all kinds of issues, especially when it comes to sales lead management.   When the truth about sales lead management policies and procedures are revealed for most companies, it is painful. 

"Just because sales lead management is common sense doesn’t mean it’s common practice."

James Obermayer, author of  "Managing Sales Leads"

To be fair, it’s only right to say that many people don’t know what the truth is when we speak of sales lead management.  I don’t think there is such a thing as too much truth in sales lead management, so I guess it’s time we talked about it. 

I believe there are 14 truths in B2B sales lead management (no doubt more, but I stopped at 14,  you can add some):

  1. Prospects lie. Do not assume they are telling you the truth about anything but “I have issued a Purchase Order in your name.”   Only then, with these words, can you believe that what they are saying.
  2. There is a difference between an inquiry and a lead. Leads are qualified inquiries.  I don't care if Sales Force calls all prospects leads.  They are wrong. 
  3. 45% of all inquiries turn into a sale for someone within one year.  This is known as the Rule of 45 from the book “Managing Sales Leads.”
  4. The time-frame for conversion may be shorter or longer than a year, but the conversion rate stays constant.
  5. Companies that follow-up 100% of their sales leads sell more than those who don’t.
  6. Companies that prove the ROI, or lack of it, for its sales inquiries will spend money on promotions that work and let their competitors spend money on everything else.
  7. A marketing manager who cannot prove the ROI for the lead generating dollars they spend are threatened with extinction.  See item #13.
  8. Marketing management says it isn’t their job to report on the sales lead dispositions.   They’re wrong. When they say this it is a cop-out and an excuse.
  9. Having a CRM system and/or a Marketing Automation system is no guarantee that a company is managing its sales leads.   People manage leads with the tools given to them, software and AI are tools.  
  10. A marketing automation system with follow-up and content delivery can increase sales from inquiries between 300-400%.  Ok, maybe now that Marketing Automation is more common, it is only a 200% increase.
  11. Any follow-up by sales and marketing people increases the sales results.  The greater the follow-up, the greater the sales return.
  12. The vast majority of all inquiries are never followed-up by a salesperson.
  13. Sales managers who won’t hold their salespeople 100% accountable for the sales inquiries and leads given to them will join the marketing managers on the threatened species list.   See item #7.
  14. Inside salespeople have a higher sales lead follow-up rate than “outside” salespeople.  This occurs mainly because of programs such as VanillaSoft which is a sales engagement program.   It forces engagement. 

These are the truths as I see ‘em.  People have said to me that these are just plain common sense I guess they’re right. 

It’s said the truth will set you free; in this case it may prompt you to write a sales lead management procedure document to match the sales procedures policy. document. 

P.S.   Whilst we're on the subject of truth, get a copy of Dan McDade's book, "The Truth About Leads" Published by Onsei and available from Amazon.


What Salespeople Obtain too Cheaply, They May Esteem too Lightly! Leads for instance?

Thomas Pain said, "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly, 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value.”  Until salespeople realize the time, effort and company treasure that goes into lead generation, they seldom value the gifts they are given.  They don't have to work or for the sales leads so they take what’s given very lightly.

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Practice, Practice, Practice is the Essential Factor for Success - McClure

McClureI was at a seminar and Michael Phelps, the world-class Olympic swimmer who has won more medals (14) than anyone else in the world, was being interviewed.  He was asked why he was so successful, so dominant in his sport.  His answer was startling:  he worked out and swam (4-5 hours a day) for EVERY SINGLE DAY of the year (all 365) for 4 years in a row.  That's 1,460 days of working out without a break.  He told the audience that if you take a day off, it takes two days to get back to where you were before.  If you take a week off, it takes two weeks to recover.  So he never took time off!

One of my friends is a professional golfer.  One day, while admiring his swing, I stated that I wished I could have his swing.  He replied, "That's easy.  Just hit 1,000 golf balls a day for the next year and you'll get there." 
 
What's this have to do sales?  Everything!  To achieve peak performance as a sales superstar, you need to practice.  You need to read books and listen to CD's of all of the top sales trainers and authors.

What a concept!  I can't imagine working out every day for 4 years, or attempting to hit 1,000 golf balls a day.  But that's what it took for these peak-performing athletes to reach their goals! 

Why It's Important

"Every single step in your sales process can be practiced, refined, drilled, and practiced again until you have it down with perfection."

Patrick McClure

What's this have to do sales?  Everything!  To achieve peak performance as a sales superstar, you need to practice. 

  • Read books and listen to CD's of all of the top sales trainers and authors.
  • Spend at least an hour a day working on your skills.  You should practice and refine your sales pitch again and again until it's second nature. 
  • Find a partner and practice handling common objections over and over again until you are NEVER thrown off track in a sales call. 
  • Pick up the phone and make 1,000 calls in a month, and every time getting better and better. 

Every single step in your sales process can be practiced, refined, drilled, and practiced again until you have it down with perfection. 
 
To become a sales superstar, you need to practice just like an Olympic athlete.
 
Here's to your Success!

Patrick McClure
Connexia Group
patrick@connexiagroup.com
www.connexiagroup.com

 

 


Ernest Hemingway said "Never mistake motion for action,”

Generating a bunch of inquiries and leads without a consideration for lead follow-up and nurturing …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).

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More:

Without a Sales Lead Management Process, Marketing Plans are Fantasies

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When inquiries are abandoned by sales reps at still alarming rates (75-90% are said to be never followed-up by a sales representative), the marketing department has had to pick up the chore by lead nurturing.   Lead nurturing isn't new, it started in earnest in the early 90's. 

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.  If you want proof, review any of the marketing automation stats, back by thier research.    If you want to learn more, try Hubspots free training course on sales lead management. 

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.

Marketing has been increasingly inserting itself deeper into the sales funnel. 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?

More about Marketing and the Sales Funnel

Who Owns the Pipeline? Marketing or Sales? – Matt Heinz on SLMA Live Radio

Marketing’s Role is to “Follow the Money”


Why are sales professionals afraid of the phone?

Photo-1527067669193-6a36380de229-answer-the-phone-smaller

The trend toward "Where's Waldo?" websites that hide company contact information has spilled over into email signatures. Let's take a poll: Who still uses email? Ahhhh, many hands go up. It's not going anywhere. Although more professionals, especially younger ones, skip the entire phone number element altogether, "Best, Cameron" isn't enough and that's not a signature.

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Leads to Profit: Managing Your Lead and Keeping Them Interested

There comes a point when you lose interest in a career you spent a lifetime building, or just letting go of that dream project because you’re not feeling it anymore. What happened to your dream of being a pilot or an astronaut or a firefighter when you were a kid? There’s a lot of reasons people lose interest and motivation as life happens around them, and in the world of marketing, that is called lead mismanagement.

Businesses try so hard to generate leads, or prospects, in order to grow their revenue and sustain their brand. But getting these leads is an entirely different thing from keeping them. When you get an inquiry from a potential customer, how do you handle them and how do you keep them interested? This is where it gets complicated because nurturing customer relationships takes more than just giving them an automated reply.

A study revealed that 48% of salespeople quit after the first contact, while 90% quit at the fourth. This means only 10% are especially persistent, which is very rewarding considering that 80% of sales are made after the fifth contact. Why does this happen? Maybe the one in charge of lead generation was looking at the wrong person, or maybe because the lead isn’t fully ready yet, as in it is not ready to make a sale. Whatever it is, persistence is key. But other than that, there are other things that marketers can do in order to manage their leads properly, keep them interested, and who knows, maybe they will even become loyal customers. 

Don’t keep them waiting 

Women looking mobile phonePhoto courtesy of antonynjoro via Pixabay

People are becoming increasingly impatient. They don’t like waiting, and they definitely take it personally when they are ignored.

A study from Autodeal about car dealership response time showed that dealers who responded in 6 hours or less achieved an average 40% improvement in conversion rate. And as response time shortens, the probability of making a sale improves. In fact, dealers responding in an hour or less are 48% more likely to close a sale. This only goes to show that the quality of your response is as important as the time you took to respond.

Customer response time shows how a company values its customers. If the customers feel they are being neglected, they will surely bring their business elsewhere. Poor response time means poor customer service, and ultimately will cost a company its customers and revenue.

Track your leads

How the leads were generated is a fairly important question. It is only by knowing where they came from will you have an idea of where they’re going.

There are many ways to source these leads, such as inbound marketing, organic search, paid ads, referrals, etc. If you know how they were generated, it will be a bit easier for you to know what will work for them. For example, if you know that a lead was generated out of a paid ad on promos and discounts, you’ll know which leads to tap the next time you have similar activities. They probably aren’t ready to make a sale on the first contact, but they are likely to be thinking about it.

Pass the lead to the proper person

People-fist-bumpPhoto courtesy of StockSnap via Pixabay

In managing a team, it doesn’t matter how talented or how skilled an employee is. If you put him in a position that is not fit for him, all his skills and talents are put to waste. Such is the case in lead management. If you assign the lead to someone ill-equipped to manage and nurture it, let’s just say you risk losing potential customers and profit.

This is where lead distribution comes in. Well-distributed leads increase the probability of converting these leads. Remember that each lead is different, and it needs a special team or person to handle it. In short, you have to play the matchmaker. For starters, you can match based on skills, geography or location, or niche and expertise.

Once distributed, track the progress and outcomes of the assigned leads. No one is expected to perfect the process all at once; monitoring and constant collaboration is necessary so you’ll know both strong points and weak points that you can use later on.                                                                                                                                                                         

Nurture your leads, don’t give up too easily

Business-dealPhoto courtesy of rawpixel via Pixabay

Just like in life, some things take a little more time than others. But do you give up on a dream just because of a temporary setback?

You need to nurture those dreams. In marketing, you need to nurture leads that takes a while to be sales-ready. A study by SiriusDecisions found that 80% of those marketers consider to be bad leads go on to make a purchase within two years.

Another study by Autodeal also showed that failure to nurture high funnel leads, or customers who are still canvassing from different dealers, are having a negative impact on conversion rate. This is because opportunities are being missed, and that marketers and salespeople gave up too easily.

What you need to do is to discover opportunities in bad leads, and continue fostering a healthy customer relationship by moving your leads along the sales process, giving them relevant content, and maintaining a connection.

Measure success (or failure)

Technology has made it so easy to measure how successful (or unsuccessful) a digital marketing campaign is. All your efforts will go to waste if you don’t monitor and measure, and ultimately understand what these algorithms are all about. Remember that in a quickly evolving virtual world the room for improvement just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Leads are prospects, and they deserve to be treated like a valued customer. You have to engage them and bring them in, you have to make them want to stay, and you want to make them want to come back. You have to take care of them. While strategies can be quite mechanical and impersonal, the usual values of a great sales person or marketer should pay off: persistence, creativity, and genuine care.


A good drive on the 18th hole has stopped many a golfer from giving up the game.

GolferStuff happens in golf and sales. You can shank it, hit into all the traps, and miss every green but that one sweet under-par hole can change the game for you. Just like that one sweet sale can change your outlook on sales.

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Why You Need to Stop Trying to Align Marketing and Sales

StopMarketing and Sales alignment continues to remain a hot topic in research and conferences. Why? Because in the words of Mary Shea, principal analyst for Forrester, “After years of acknowledging their issues with each other, many B2B marketing and sales teams continue to be at odds.”

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