In an earlier post, I quoted a Seinfeld episode where a car rental agency knew how to “take” the reservation, but just didn’t know how to “hold” the reservation. Many B2B companies do the same thing with their leads. They know how to get them, but just can’t seem to hold on to them, and thereby miss out on sales.
Just how many of them miss out on the sales? Well, according to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Let that sink in for a moment. Seventy-nine percent of leads never convert into sales. That means you’re converting only 1 out of every 5 leads you generate. One out of five.
Those are some pretty dismal numbers, don’t you think?
This tends to happen with many companies because they’re lead gen-heavy. Their follow-up and conversion are underpowered, letting all those leads slip away into the night. For example, at trade shows and conventions, they’ll gather business cards and email addresses, but then do nothing with them. Their website collects names and email addresses in exchange for sending out a free report, but then that’s the last contact they do.
All of these leads are just waiting for you to do some follow up and start the relationship building and lead management. If you just let them sit there in a pile, they do you and your company no good. Let’s take a look at a few strategies that can get your B2B marketing program cranked up, and start converting those leads into sales.
1. Follow up with your B2B leads
This seems like a no-brainer, however many B2B companies let this slide. Leads have short memories, so you must keep the memory alive with quick follow-up. Whether that’s 24 or 48 hours, the point is, follow up with them quickly.
2. Use a system to capture information
A CRM system has the benefit of centralizing all of your relevant marketing and sales information about the lead. Everyone’s working off the same info and timeline, increasing the chances of conversion. Isolating your lead information in separate systems or departments will ensure that conversion never happens.
3. Have Marketing & Sales work together
Traditionally lead qualification is done by Sales, which isn’t playing to their strengths. Sales typically excels at taking leads from qualification to closure, however aren’t as strong when it comes to the qualification process. (Of course there are exceptions, however this tends to be the typical behavior.) By allowing Marketing to vet all the leads, they’ll be handing off the cream of the lead crop to Sales, who can then work their magic.
Getting the two departments to work together can be a challenge at any company, so consider formalizing the relationship between the two groups. A formal lead SLA sets expectations for both groups, and lets them work to their strengths. This is especially important in the B2B marketing world, where the sales cycle is very long and complex. Sales and Marketing must be in sync in order to move leads through their sales cycle.
Tell me your story
How is your B2B company nurturing leads? Are you using any of these strategies? Hit the comments and let me know.