June 9, 2011
It seems with all the systems we have today to generate, score, and nurture leads, it all comes down to sales. The amount of time it takes for a sales person to follow up with a lead can determine whether the deal is closed or not. At least, that’s what the recent HBR article “The Short Life of Online Sales Leads” states, saying that 24% of companies take more than 24 hours to respond to a lead, and 23% of companies never responded at all.
According to their research, the average response time, among companies that responded within 30 days, was 42 hours.
These results are especially shocking given how quickly online leads go cold – HBR
The article doesn’t go into much detail about whether the leads being followed up had been nurtured by a Marketing Automation system, or even a break down of industries but it does point a good possible flaw in the sales process of most companies.
What good is implementing a complex nurturing system if when the marketing qualified lead is sent to sales, the rep doesn’t follow up? Plugging this hole in the funnel takes more than software.
March 24, 2011
Talk to marketing mangers and sales managers about their biggest complaint and you will likely hear “They don’t follow up on leads!” from the marketing guy and “Their leads suck!” from the sales guy. No news there. But why is that this fight on lead quality continues?
According to a recent chart published by MarketingSherpa (below), 80% of marketers don’t spend time qualifying leads before sending them to sales.
What information is required before leads are passed to sales?
It is interesting that back in 2009, MarketingSherpa had published a chart showing the key challenges marketers faced and “generating high quality leads” was the top one. Sales keeps insisting on receiving better leads, marketing knows that is an issue, but still they are not delivering. In their “CMO Perspectives on B2B Marketing Automation” this challenge for high quality leads is shown as having increased from 69% in 2009 to 76% in 2010.
A Gartner Group presentation on allocation of Marketing Budgets for 2011 showed that the top three marketing priorites for this year are:
- Acquire new customers
- Improve customer retention
- Support sales including lead generation programs
If the budget is there, then maybe more companies will be able to finally put some technology in place to help with lead quality, more specifically marketing automation with the goal of improving lead quality. Because the solution to the disconnect facing marketing and sales today is to fix the “lead problem”, once leads are better qualified the two organizations can be friends again.
February 10, 2011
I just attended “The Science of Email Marketing” online webinar, hosted by HubSpot and presented by social media scientist Dan Zarrella.
Slides should be available for download soon here.
- Businesses are consumers (the boundaries between B2C and B2B are blurred when it comes to reading email)
- Try sending emails on weekends
- Send very early in the morning
- Optimize for mobile
- Use lots of links
- Include reference information in your emails
- Serialize and label your emails
- Give your subscribers special access
- Send email from someone they’ve heard of
- Don’t be afraid to send too much email
- Your newest subscribers are your best
- Make them want to get your emails
- Ask people to follow you
The presentation was based on data collected via focus groups and from MailChimp’s email database of over 9.5 billion emails sent.
I like Dan’s presentation for its brevity and focus on key action items based on solid data. What I wish he had shared is how the data from focus groups and MailChimp is broken down. How many B2B vs. B2C companies, industries, and even job titles. It’s easy to say that B2B and B2C email patterns are similar, but without seeing the data underlying that assumption I’m very skeptic. Also, MailChimp is now known to be used by large corporations (they focus on SMB market) therefore the data may not take into account larger organizations.
As with all analysis and reports out there, you have to take all of the recommendations with a grain of salt. Test them, see if they work, then be the judge. No one knows your industry and customers better than you.
January 26, 2010
MarketingSherpa recently published a nice chart about lead conversion rates (Note: they give open access to the full article only until Feb 19th). According to their research (147 responses) you need about 10 qualified leads to close one sale.
When sharing the chart with my co-workers the responses were varied, from “Great! Now we have the baseline we needed to set our goals!” to “Gee, I guess we should change our lead generation plans” and even “What exactly does this mean?”.
All valid points, for sure, and before trying to interpret the chart how about asking:
- What industries are represented?
- Is it B2B or B2C?
- What are the sales cycle of the respondents?
Those are just the 3 first questions I would ask, followed by a handful more. I did send MarketingSherpa questions trying to get more information and haven’t gotten any response yet.
And how about all the other metrics we see out there (a nice post from Market2Lead about Sirius Decisions Lead Waterfall comes to mind)? Should you take MarketingSherpa’s metrics as the de facto guide or combine them with some others?
The lesson here is to be very, very careful with data presented to you without any substantiating information. Nice charts abound on the Internet and you can find one to back any story you wish. So before you go start changing your marketing plans, calculating how you compare against the “industry average”, and spend countless hours pondering over the meaning of the data, remember that sometimes it just doesn’t matter.
If you can’t compare apples to apples, you might as well just eat the fruit and forget about it! 😉