This guest blog post from Laurie B. Beasley, president of the Northern California DMA, highlights some of the concepts of her research “Why It Takes 7 to 13+ Touches To Deliver a Qualified Sales Lead” that she will be presenting in DMA Education’s 6 week Advanced Demand Generation and Lead Conversion course.
Why do warm leads drop out of the lead-to-sales funnel? Because they have not received enough touches with information exchanged to convert them to a sales-ready lead. The magic happens somewhere between 7 and 13 touches.
Consider the following typical sequence of developing a sales-ready lead:
- Initial email campaign.
- Initial direct mail campaign.
- Call: prospect not there; leave a message.
- Send email follow-up.
- Call: prospect is not involved in any way and refers to correct contact in company.
- Start over. Call the referred person, leave voice message.
- Send email follow up. First email.
- Call, after no inbound response: prospect not able to talk then, but schedules another time.
- Send email follow up confirming call appointment day and time.
- Conference call held. Prospect interested, but wants more information before all the qualification questions on script (which the sales team needs) are completed.
- Send personalized email follow up with relevant info. The email may include information on case studies, webinars, and web pages with supporting information about the product. (AKA, mid funnel content.)
- Prospect now ready for a peer-to-peer talk about needs/pains, access to budget, purchase authority, level of urgency and timeframe. Now, the scoring data says the prospect is sales-ready qualified!
- Email to confirm appointment scheduled with field or inside sales rep, CC rep.
You can get to 13 or more touches very quickly. The problem is that most so-called “leads” rarely receive any touches beyond receiving an email and filling out a response form. Some of those unqualified leads that Marketing tosses into the sales funnel are good potential leads, but they rarely receive enough touches to become qualified.
Warning: don’t expect your sales reps to do this pre-sales qualification work, it’s our work. Sales resources are often slim and they are also some of the most expensive fixed costs in a company.
As you see below by contact 4 most sales professionals, 89%, give up on that lead.
This is because not enough pre-sales qualification work has been done before Sales receives the lead. Lead-generation and qualification is hard work because it takes time to gather the qualification information and build a relationship with the prospect just to set that critical first appointment. Sales people haven’t got the time—and they won’t spend the time to build a relationship until they have the data that tells them the lead is solid.
So, if Sales won’t work with unqualified leads, what is marketing supposed to do with them? Marketing must step up to the job of ore-qualifying leads by determining the BANT data (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe) or your company’s version of it, for each lead that comes. I am working on a course that premieres in May with DMA Education and dives deeper in both demand generation and lead conversion. The process has been very rich so far – helping marketers to optimize communication channels to move leads along the funnel to viability.
I hope you will consider sharing your challenges or celebrations on high touch surrounding high touch conversion.
About the Guest Blogger: This post is based upon “Why It Takes 7 to 13+ Touches To Deliver a Qualified Sales Lead” authored by Laurie B. Beasley, co-founder and president of Beasley Direct Marketing, Inc., and Tom Judge, vice president Strategy at Direct Marketing Partners. Laurie presenting a live online seminar on this, the topic of Advanced Demand Generation and Lead Conversion for DMA in May 2014.
Beasley Direct is a Silicon Valley direct marketing agency that has managed search, email, online, and demand generation campaigns for nearly 100 companies. Ms. Beasley serves as President of the DMA of Northern California. She manages the eMarketing Roundtable for the BMA Northern California . She is also an instructor of online marketing at UC Berkeley Extension.