Sales and marketing groups using best practice lead management processes are closing up to five times as many deals as groups not using those processes.
According to research by SiriusDecisions, a b-to-b sales and marketing operational intelligence firm, the average companies close just 2.89 pieces of business per 1,000 inquiries while best in class companies close 14.23 pieces of business per 1,000 inquiries.
Here are six best practices that drive these results.
- Sales and marketing alignment.
Written service level agreements are needed to define the market, the offer, leads and measurement metrics. If sales and marketing are not willing or able to collaborate, a senior executive will need to step forward to make alignment happen.
- Precise market definition, segmentation and testing.
A micro targeting approach includes precise market definition, segmentation and testing. For example, a 5% lead rate from qualifying 1,000 companies is an average of higher and lower rate subgroups. Five segments with 200 companies each may have lead rates of 9%, 7%, 5%, 3% and 1% that — in total — average 5%. Testing identifies those segments most likely to buy.
- Agreement on lead definition.
The lead framework should address funnel movement and resource accountability.
- A dedicated group of professionals using the telephone.
Lead generation and lead nurturing should be assigned to either a dedicated inside sales team or an outsourced teleservices provider that uses proven skills to qualify prospects and then hands them off when sales representative attention is warranted.
- The sales lead paradox: Fewer leads are better.
Sales representatives don’t need more leads. They need fewer leads — or more accurately, fewer unqualified, raw leads. Best practice prospect development delivers a smaller number of higher quality leads that fill forecasts with ready buyers.
- Long-term lead nurturing.
An average 5% of the market buys at any given time. Fifteen to twenty percent more will be active in the next year. With a relatively small investment in nurturing long-term leads, it’s possible to as much as double program revenue.
Consistent and comprehensive application of these processes will result in more closed deals and drive more revenue.