Research by Sirius Decisions suggests that as few as 20% of leads are followed-up by sales teams, and 70% of them are later disqualified because of lack of budget or timescale.
Yet 80% of these ‘bad’ leads go on to buy within the following 24 months – perhaps from your competitors.
The cost of generating these leads is wasted, and that affects your ROI beyond the current financial year. If these ‘bad’ leads were nurtured they might generate revenue in the second, third or fourth Quarter, or perhaps in the New Year.
Business-to-business sales are often more complex that B2C, as a result they take longer to reach the point of purchase.
Most decision makers don't buy immediately... but they do buy. Cahners Business Information analysed 40,000 enquiries generated by advertisements and press releases in manufacturing trade magazines.
The results showed that 11% purchased within three months of enquiring, 17% purchased within four to six months and 25% purchased within seven to 12 months.
This supports our own research which divides B2B sales into four groups. On average, 25% buy within 6 months, 25% within 6-12 months, 25% in 12-18 months and the final 25% buy in 18 months or more.
So why are so few sales leads followed-up? Probably because 75% are long-term leads, and sales teams generally need more immediate results to meet their monthly or quarterly quotas and earn commissions.
If leads are passed to your sales team or channel partners for follow-up, you may be leaving as many as eight out of ten of them for your rivals to pick-up.
Developing these leads through a lead nurturing programme will ensure they are kept engaged until they are BANT qualified. Most leads have Authority and Need, but it’s not until they have Budget and Timescale that they can become an opportunity.
It’s far better to pass qualified opportunities to your sales team; they are closer to the point of purchase which makes it easier for your sales team to satisfy their short-term goals.
And the best tool for nurturing these ‘long-term’ leads? Apparently, it’s a combination of telemarketing and email. Check our infographic titled ‘Generating and nurturing leads’ that illustrates some of the metrics and also our lead nurture programme LeadNurturePlus.
Make it your goal to nurture leads in 2012, and build a marketing plan that delivers in Q2, Q3 and Q4 as well as 2013.