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Aug 14, 2001
How To

Are 70% of Your Business Sales Leads Wasted?

SUMMARY: "Marketers typically send leads to sales and it's a huge black hole. They never know what happens." Bob Merlo, CMO of deuxo, explains that up to 70% of the sales leads B-to-B marketers collect through campaigns, may be wasted.
"Traditionally, business marketers have measured the success of their campaign by the response rate," says Bob Merlo, CMO of marketing optimization solution provider deuxo. He pretends for a moment to be a traditional marketer, "I launched this campaign and got a 50% response rate, aren't I a hero?!!"

But, all that really matters at the end of the day are finalized sales. Merlo says, "You have to measure the close rate and the contract value and tie that back to the response rate."

Unfortunately most company's sales measure systems don't do this. Marketers can see a campaign response rate report, or they can see a sales win/loss report, but data from the twain don't meet.

Merlo says, "Marketers typically send leads to sales and it's a huge black hole. They never know what happens." In fact a Cahners CARR Research report revealed that most marketers' secret nightmares are true -- on average 70% of the leads marketers sent to sales were never contacted at all. And of those abandoned 70%, 43% ended up buying something from a competitor over the next 13 months. Scary.

So what exactly how can you make sure these lost sales don't happen to you? Merlo suggests three action steps:

Step #1 Measure Sales Lead Effectiveness & Campaign ROI

It may be tough to set the systems in place, but it's worth it. You need to generate reports that show a sales lead's progress from campaign start to sales win or loss. Otherwise you'll never know if those leads you invested in gathering were any good (or acted on at all.)

Step #2 Keep Leads Warm Until They're Ready to Purchase

Only a small percent of the leads you gather from a campaign are really ready to buy right away. Generally they can be ranked into three categories hot, warm and not qualified. Find out from your sales team how to distinguish what makes a hot and a not, so you can hand them the former and stop investing in the latter.

Then take responsibility for the warms yourself, keeping an open flow of communications going (such as regular email newsletters) until they are ready to buy. Merlo says some leads simply need "further nurturing" before they are ready for sales.

Step #3 Track Combined Campaign Effectiveness

Make sure your marketing database tracks it each time you reach out to nurture those warm leads. So, you'll know how many steps, touches and costs it took to grow that lead from warm to hot to end sale. This is the only way to determine true campaign ROI.

Cahner's CARR Reports site (Note: the report Merlo cited isn't up on this site yet, but there's lots of other useful data on B-to-B advertising and marketing.)
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