What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes that sales teams make? Not coming up with the right solutions for prospects? Sure, that’s definitely a sign of a weak sales rep, but it’s not the oversight that wreaks the most crippling havoc on effective B2B sales enablement.
The biggest mistake sales reps make is not following up with “dormant” sales leads. This surprises most B2B companies because they assume that dormant leads don’t have much value: They’re not ready to buy, so why waste your reps’ time on them? But failing to follow up with dormant leads gets you out of the running to double your revenue.
That’s right: Paying attention to those people in the pipeline who aren’t ready to buy right at that time – keeping your company visible and relevant to reluctant buyers with hyper-personalized, hyper-helpful content – has the potential to double your revenue.
Interested? We thought so.
Seduce the 75%.
Countless marketing/sales research firms, publications and thought leaders in the B2B industry, including Eloqua, RainToday.com and SiriusDecisions, report the disastrous effects that lack of lead follow up has on both marketing and sales ROI.
75% of the leads that don’t show solidified buying interest at the present time will go on to buy related services within the next 24 months.
They’re visiting your website and doing research on your industry’s products and services, but they’re just not ready to buy – not yet, anyway.
So while these leads may be dormant now, they have full potential for revival into primed leads (and, ultimately, satisfied buyers) when the time is right. This is why you must motivate your sales reps to pay attention to those dormant leads. They must keep your company in mind and in sight – because within 24 months, that now-primed lead is ready to buy… and you want your company to be the one they think of and go to first.
Kindle the fire with lead nurturing campaigns.
According to the GfK Roper Public Affairs And Media, 80% of B2B decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of targeted, “bite-sized” articles rather than in one intrusive advertisement. So a winning dormant lead nurturing campaign does just that: sending out helpful articles and quick-fix tip sheets every two to three weeks.
These nibbles of information eventually get those soon-to-be-revived leads craving the real meal (i.e., the real deal) from your company. Your sales reps are keeping your company in sight and in mind, but they’re not turning off those dormant leads with intrusive hard sells (i.e., “content harpoons”) or overwhelming emails that just get labeled as spam and then relegated to the trash folder.
So why is it the sales rep’s job?
Your marketing team’s experience with leads is broader and less intimate, and they may not have the intricate knowledge or less-obvious details to know which ones are qualified. So while it’s their job to produce leads for your sales people, it’s not their job to keep the dormant leads warmed up.
Your sales reps are closest to your leads. They know them best as people, not just as potential buyers. This close relationship gives them the upper hand in converting dormant leads into primed leads because they’re able to target and segment their messaging and offers, using powerful tools for campaign automation, on a more personalized level.
But they can’t work alone.Don’t get the wrong idea: Dormant lead nurturing is not a one-sales-(wo)man job. How does your sales team come up with content to guide leads along the buying process? They work with marketing.
You like numbers? Here are some winners.
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
[Source: The Annuitas Group]
- Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
[Source: DemandGen Report]
- Companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate.
[Source: CSO Insights]
- At companies without lead nurturing, sometimes things are so bad that NO “won” opportunities are derived from older leads, whereas at companies that excel at lead nurturing, as many as 1/2 (50%) of the “won” opportunities and associated revenue come from older, nurtured leads.
[Source: Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing, Marketo (2009)]
- Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months.
[Source: Gartner Research]
- Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts.
[Source: SilverPop / DemandGen Report]
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.
Your company cannot afford to undervalue its dormant leads. Make it known to your sales team: Giving up on leads that don’t get them immediate gratification is simply unacceptable.
If you want to survive in the B2B market, you can’t sweep dormant sales leads under the rug.
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