How to Fix Your Sales Pipeline Leak to Avoid Sales Leads Generation Losses
Every day, marketing people across the globe are working industriously to acquire leads. Perhaps they offer a white paper on their website which generates sales leads. The leads flow into your marketing pipeline, your marketing department scores them, and then directs those with the highest scores to your sales people, expecting them to transform into revenue.
The Disappointing Trickle of Sales Leads
Sadly, often what started as a flood of marketing leads, dries up to a trickle of sales-ready leads. According to research conducted by Forrester, that’s because on average, only 25% of your sales leads generation pool are ready to speak to your sales people NOW. What happens to the rest? In three out of four companies they leak out and evaporate—either in the hands of sales or marketing.
Future Revenues are Evaporating
25% of leads are truly unqualified, and if they leak out, nothing is lost. 50% of your sales leads generation pool, however, may be interested, but they are just not THERE YET in their buying cycle. This group represents future revenue potential and most companies let it vanish.
Leaks tend to materialize when sales cycles don’t fit with prospects’ buying cycles, causing the people who are in the early phase of the buying cycle to fall into the no-man’s land between sales and marketing.
If you send these leads to the sales team, the sales people likely will classify them as ‘bad leads’ and ignore them since they are not ready for a sales call. That’s because salespeople are hardwired to close deals not to develop them–they’re looking for fruit that’s ready to be plucked. But the problem is marketing thinks they’ve done their job. After all, they generated the leads.
The two problems with discarding leads just because they aren’t ready to sign up for your services today are as follows.
1. Opportunity Lost
Falling into the chasm between sales and marketing is a large part of the company’s future revenue stream.
2. Lower Quality Interactions with Prospects
In addition, if marketing discards a lead, it can result in revolving-door syndrome. The abandoned lead may later be re-entered into your system as a new lead. Now the prospect may receive marketing campaigns that are irrelevant based on their past interactions with your company.
If that happened to you as a customer, how would you feel? Spammed, forgotten, frustrated? Perhaps ready to move on to the competition?
3. Money Thrown Away on Leads
It costs a lot of money to launch sales leads generation initially; direct costs such as pay-per-click or pay-per-lead, and indirect costs such as banner ads, advertisements, and more. Each lead that evaporates is money thrown away.
5 Steps to Fix the Leak
Take these 5-steps to stop leads from seeping out.
1. Align your Sales Cycle with the Buying Cycle
You can generate a long-term healthy stream of sales-qualified leads by aligning sales and buying cycles. It usually takes 7-12 marketing touches to convert a new marketing lead into a sales-ready lead. If you build your lead-nurturing process around this, it goes a long way to sealing up your sales-pipeline leak and boosting your lead-to-sales conversion rates.
2. Bridge the Divide between Sales and Marketing
Collaborate between departments to establish who will nurture prospects based on where they are in the buying cycle.
3. Use a Simple Lead Scoring Process
By scoring your leads you can quickly see where they are in the buying cycle and who is responsible for their care. Since most people are not fans of using complex equations to score a lead, keep your lead-scoring system as simple as possible. To make sure it gets used you sometimes you have to go with your gut.
4. Employ a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
As long as you have strict guidelines for use and reinforce them, a CRM system can assure that nothing falls through the cracks and in the lead and nurturing processes.
5. Create a Lead Nurturing Process
You want to use the most straightforward nurturing process that will be effective. What’s required will depend on what you’re selling. The larger and more complex the sale, the longer the sales cycle and the more people involved.
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