As an outsourced sales and marketing company we handle inbound leads and also produce outbound leads with integrated campaigns. Often when we first engage with a company that is looking for more sales ready B2B leads we discover that there is not alignment, or in some cases, has never been a discussion, about what make a lead sales ready. This blog is just a quick overview of some of the lessons we have learned as an outsourced sales and marketing company producing B2B leads for technology, SaaS and professional services firms.
Start with a Definition of What Makes a B2B Lead Sales Ready – As an outsourced sales and marketing firm we have the opportunity and the advantage of working with multiple companies and we find that about 50% of the time your sales team, your marketing team and your management may all have different view of what they think makes a lead sales ready. No two companies will have the same criteria so we recommend that you get your team together so there is at least general consistency in when it make sense to transition leads to your sales reps (generally your most expensive resource) to that their time is as productive as possible. As and outsourced B2B lead generation company here are the questions we like to ask of ourselves internally before we transistion a lead to a customer:
- Do you have a basic understanding their Need/Pain
- What is the Potential Opportunity identified and have we been able to match it to a product or solution? product matched to pain
- What is the timeline for making a decision?
- Do we know who all the stakeholders are?
- Do they have budget or do we know how they will champion a path to funding and/or getting budget? Initial Budget defined or path to budget
- Is their a specific challenge or compelling event that make them interested in purchasing the solution? (Nice to haves are now tougher to close)
- Are all the decision makers identified and how will the decision made? Is it one person, a committee? Who are the gate keepers?
Outbound B2B Lead Generation Needs to Be Smart to Ensure ROI so Start with an Ideal Customer Profile – In a blog post several months back we discussed the ROI of cold calling. In that blog we discussed when as an outsourced B2B lead generation company we felt outbound calling made sense so we won’t go through those number again here. We just want to reiterate here that when you are going to execute an integrated email and cold calling campaign you need to start with an Ideal Customer Profile to maximize your investment. We wrote several blogs on this topic which we invite you to visit for more details and as a quick recap here are some of the crtierea we recommend your team explores before launching an outbound campaign:
Hard criteria related to both the company and the specific decision maker:
- Annual revenue of the company
- Number of employees
- Level of Contact – C-level, senior Manager, middle manager
- Functional Area – business Area, technical Area
- Revenue Responsibility – budget maker or budget spender
- Geography – global, national, local
- Technology Adopted – in some cases knowing what ERP, CRM, and if they have virtualized may be critical
- Their Clients – e.g. are they doing business with a Procter and Gamble, Federal government, education (local gov.) Walmart, Intel, EMC etc.
- Business Pain/Need
- Vertical Industry Trend – established or in transition, growth or decline
- Competitive – large competitors or a volume of competitors
- Psychographics – company culture, leadership style, corporate values
It is also important to know who you don’t want to sell to:
- Decision makers whose jobs could be threatened
- Internal Support Functions – for example, if you are selling data analytics you may want to avoid MR groups, or if you are selling operational efficiency services you may want to stay away from operations managers and start with supply chain directors
Finally with the increased maturity of different database companies and even our own internal databases if you are a technology company and your solution works better with some technologies than others it is now possible to segment lists based on your targets existing technical infrastructure. If this is a possible you should jump on this competitive advantage.
Inbound Inquires are not necessarily Sales Ready Leads – Gabriel Sales has been doing some really interesting work over the past 6 months integrating Content Marketing, Marketing Automation and Telesales Account Profiling and Inside Sales. As part of this integration we have benchmarked several types of sales and over the course of the first quarter of 2012 we have generally found across verticals and solution types that between 15-20% of leads generated from SEO and Pay-Per Click are sales ready and that the number is hold steady with leads generated by email campaigns as well. That means that about 1 in 5 leads are actually ready for your Sales Reps to work. What does this means for your business? You can’t afford to pass these leads to sales reps and you also can’t afford to send them to sales because they will either be abandoned or you will be wasting too much time educating customers not ready to buy. We have three recommendations here:
Follow Up with Every Lead within 24 hours – If someone is ready to engage you will be first in line. But follow up with an inside reps whose job it is to profile that account. Pass the Sales Ready leads up the food chain and…
Be Ready to Offer those Not Ready to Buy More Educational Content – Have at least a couple of blog posts, a white paper or a webcast ready to offer your customer if there not ready to engage right now.
Consider a Marketing Automation Software – Depending on the size and volume of your database and the amount of sales content you have already produced it may make sense to invest the 15K to 30K it would take to automate your lead nurturing process. For more detailed ROI metrics feel free to pick up a copy of our White Paper – Sell Smarter, Sell Faster. If you are not familiar with Marketing Automation check out this quick 5 minute demo from one of our partners Pardot for a quick overview.
If you have any questions or feel like a conversation makes sense to learn how Gabriel Sales can help you pull together a more effective demand generation program whether you are mid cycle or building a new effort feel free to CONTACT US.
For a quick look at what a B2B demand generation engine looks like to get a sense if you could benefit from some quick sales and marketing automation process consulting we invite to CLICK HERE you to check out our short 4 minute video.