Optimizing Sales Leads In The Contractor, Industrial and MRO Markets

How many times have you heard the sales department say sales leads are no good. What they are really saying is they may not be ready to buy now and therefore they aren’t a good lead (as defined by helping me make my numbers for the month).

Ironically, over 50% of all inquiries do have an interest level in what you’re selling, but aren’t ready to buy. What’s aggravating, according to research,  is that 80% of not-sales-ready leads are being ignored!

Think about that for a second. If you could convert 10% of these down the road into sales, what would that mean for the company, not to mention the marketing department.

If you’re a manufacturer that makes left-handed widgets for a plumbing application, who in their right mind would inquire about that product unless they thought it would have some application in what they do. Just because they aren’t ready to buy on the spot doesn’t mean they aren’t a qualified lead. The prospect might want more info to see if the application is right for him. If it is, he might want a demo or want to read about how other professionals have used the product.

157_brandspeak_img_hribar1Angela Hribar, who is the CMO of GlobalSpec, a specialized vertical search information services and e-pubishing company, said in a recent article:

“Senior management can play a vital role in ensuring that a sales team understands the importance of prompt lead follow-up and what it means to business, more so now than ever. Responding to leads in a timely manner can result in increased sales, while delayed follow up can lead to lost opportunities and resources.”

Angela provides 4 tips for effective lead management:

  1. Assign responsibility. Make lead management a priority and assign someone who has authority and influence with both sales and marketing to be responsible and accountable for it.
  2. Respond appropriately. Create a central repository for leads, responding to leads in a timely manner, and distributing leads appropriately for follow-up.
  3. Distribute leads for proper follow-up. Define who is responsible for updating the status of a lead so that at any given time you can determine what’s working and what’s not in terms of lead generation and lead management.
  4. Monitor leads throughout the sales cycle. Marketing should take control of these (not ready) leads and “nurture” them by sending relevant information and offers: keep them interested with white papers, articles, product announcements, Webinar invitations and other useful information.

B-to-B clients spend billions on advertising activities to generate leads. You can’t afford to allow those leads to slip through the cracks if they are not yet ready to buy, especially in a down economy.

Read Angela’s article: Optimizing Sales Lead Management In The Industrial Marketplace

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