B-to-B Marketers: How Many Calls Does it Take to Make a Sale?

We’re all focused on generating more leads these days, but I find it ironic that most companies don’t do much with them once they get them. Simply fulfilling a request is not the answer, but yet many companies do just that. According to a recent survey of people who have requested info suggests that 80% of all sales are made on or after the third contact. The survey conducted by Marketing Best Practices, Inc. polled over 700 respondents with only 8% buying after the first call.

David Frey, the senior content editor of www.MarketingBestPractices.com and author of several marketing books advises, “An educated prospect is your best prospect, and if they haven’t become a customer it’s because you haven’t fully educated them on value of your product and developed a relationship of trust.”

Why do many businesses have a problem following up with their prospective customers? Mr. Frey explained, “The problem is not that small businesses don’t have the capacity to follow up with prospects, it’s that they don’t have the systems in place to do it well.” In his recent newsletter, “Follow-Up Marketing: How To Win More Sales With Less Effort,” Mr. Frey advised, “A good follow-up marketing system should have three attributes:
1. It should be systematic.
2. It should generate consistent, predictable results.
3. It should require minimal physical interaction to make it run.

This leads to a more pressing issue and that is, what is the difference between sales lead management and a CRM tool? According to Russ Hill, President of Ultimate Lead Systems:

Sales lead management is a sub-function within an overall CRM strategy. Traditional CRM programs like Salesforce.com, SalesLogix, ACT, Goldmine, Maximizer and others focus on the sales person entering and managing his own data and pushing it “up” to management.

Sales lead management starts with management generating and capturing leads from all sources, fulfilling information requests and delivering them to the sales channel and tracking follow-up and sales results to measure marketing return-on-investment.

Here are some other interesting facts:

67% of all inquiries are from legitimate prospects with real needs.
34% have current needs that must be satisfied within 6 months!
70% did not know the company made the product before seeing their ad
. . . making them NEW PROSPECTS!

A six year study* of nearly 60,000 inquiries conducted by Penton Media Company also found that:
43% of inquirers receive literature and information too late to be of use.
72% of inquirers are NEVER CONTACTED by a salesman.
25% of sales contacts are made at the inquirer’s request.
40% of inquirers purchase the advertised product, a competitive product or change their suppliers.
* NED Reader Action Reports

The key is to get a lead management system in place that can help your CRM convert those leads into sales.


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6 Comments. Leave a comment

  1. tradespeople

    Very good blog. A businessman should be happy about a sale being made only if the profit as a result of the sale exceeds the cost.

  2. Victoria Kamm

    Interesting. It happens in every industry I’m sorry to say.

    It did occur to me that perhaps leads are not followed up because many HVAC companies have a handful (or less) of employees that must only service and install in order to keep the cash flow going. There’s no one whose job is to keep the leads coming and then following through.

    Putting aside the issue of drilling the well before you’re thirsty, what would a good lead generation system be for people who have little time to do anything that doesn’t get billed?

    • tradesmeninsights

      Someone needs to be in charge of the new business hat. The key is keeping things organized so you can f/u with potentials when you said you would. Programs like ACT or Goldmine would help you keep track of leads especially since you’re a small company.They allow you to e-mail things and sends you a reminder to call a prospect and lets you know from your notes what you talked about and why they asked you to f/u.
      There’s nothing magic about it you just have to do it and have someone responsible for it.

  3. Hugo Trux, marketer

    Good article. I am personally amazed at the number of inquiries to websites that I make that are simply ignored, and even worse, the number that bounce due to bad e-mail addresses. Why invest the money if you don’t care? And is it wrong to assume that if they care so little about you before the sale, they will be any better later??

    • tradesmeninsights

      It boggles my mind to. I can’t figure out why spend the time and money if you’re not going to do anything with the leads you get. thanks for the input.

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