sales forecastIf you’re a B2B marketer, your foremost focus is generating qualified leads, and you may have a demand generation team dedicated to whipping up leads that meet the right criteria. But even when you and your team are working hard and doing everything right, lead generation efforts can sometimes fall short, not producing the number of sales-qualified leads needed. Maybe a conference got cancelled, or some events did not have the attendance that you expected. But the sales team doesn’t hear excuses, and they’re pressuring you for more leads. What can you do?

The solution may be right under your nose – your Return-to-Marketing (RTM) leads. These are the leads that your sales team pursued in the past, then categorized as “not yet ready,” then returned to marketing for more attention. For most marketers, the RTM leads are a major component of your lead nurturing database.

Normally, you’ll wait for the RTM leads to achieve sufficient lead score by showing more interest in your services before you release those leads to the sales team. However, in a crunch situation, you can proactively identify the high-potential leads and release them to the sales team or include them in a special promotion to tease out the sales-ready leads.

Identifying high-potential RTM leads

The best way to identify the high-potential RTM leads is to investigate your past reopened leads that were converted to sales. History will show the way. Are there key characteristics that made some re-opened leads convert better than others? We did an analysis of a specific use case. We checked several parameters that could be relevant such as Title, Industry, Business Size, Annual Revenue, and so on. However, the two parameters that were most relevant were “Age” (i.e., days from last sales call) and “Lead Score” at the time of reopen.

To identify high potential RTM leads using Age and Lead Score, we recommend the following steps:

Step 1

Look at the wins from reopened leads from RTM for a specific time period (say, one year) and enter the counts in a grid as below based on the Age and Lead Score at the time of reopen. (Select the groupings that are most appropriate for your business.) This data is from an actual customer use case, but the numbers have been masked:

Step 2

Enter the counts of all current RTM leads in a similar grid:

Step 3

Divide “Wins” (Grid 1) by “Counts” (Grid 2) to create ratios, similar to the one below. These ratios represent the probability of an RTM lead in a specific cell converting to a win at some point. Identify the cells with higher than average ratios. This enables you to target the RTM leads in these specific cells, starting with the cells with highest ratios first.

From our experience, the high potential RTM leads identified using this methodology are at least half as effective as a new marketing-qualified lead.

Extra Credit Exercise:

You can estimate targeting efficiency, like “Identify X% of leads in the RTM database that would give Y% of possible wins from RTM”, by using the following steps:

  • In Grid 1, find the ratio of “number of wins in the targeted cells” to “total wins”. This is X%
  • In Grid 2, find the ratio of “number of contacts in the targeted cells” to “total contacts”. This is Y%.

An example of targeting efficiency is – “We identified 5% of contacts in the RTM database that would give 25% of possible wins from RTM.”

Share Your Experience

Hopefully, this methodology comes in handy for you when you need a batch of hot leads in a hurry. Have you used this type of analysis before? Do you have something different that works well for you? Please share your thoughts in comments section below.

And if your shortage of qualified leads is chronic rather than acute, please visit Act-On’s Center of Excellence for resources to help you manage leads for greater profitability.