You may find it hard to believe, but about half of the sales leads that come into companies all of sizes, shapes and industry are never followed up on. They never ever receive a response from a sales person.
Let me put this into perspective. Consider that companies collectively spend nearly $250 billion annually on traditional and new media to generate interest in their products and services. If fifty percent of these leads generated by marketing spend are deemed unworthy of follow-up by sales, $125 billion are essentially flushed down the tubes each year.
A 2010 study shows that more than ninety percent of all B-to-B buyers conduct online research and investigate solutions before they engage with a sales person. Which means that when a buyer fills out a contact form on your website or contacts your company for more information, they have likely chosen your company as one of a select few to explore more in-depth.
Which makes the lead a valid lead from a buyer who has done his or her homework and has initiated their buying process. Like most of us in this era of permission marketing, potential prospects do not casually fill out a web form unless they are prepared to engage with a seller. Therefore, when you get a lead, it is in your economic interest to respond. Quickly.
Many of you are not old enough to remember the pre-Internet days when bingo cards—postcards stapled into the back of trade publications listing the companies mentioned in ads or editorial in the issue—were a primary source of leads.
Circling companies’ names took virtually no effort. No research was required to uncover a company to contact, so it’s not surprising that the majority of leads generated from bingo cards were not high quality.
Unfortunately, the sales indifference to leads that began the bingo-card days persists. But unsolicited leads today have a different flavor. They are typically from companies who have read up on different sellers, qualified a few as potentially eligible vendors, and reached out to this select group they believe can meet their needs. These are not your father’s sales leads. They are modern sales leads and demand to be followed up.
Successful companies have found that quickly and effectively following up their sales leads is the easiest path to growing sales. Adopt a “Leave No Lead Behind Policy” in your selling and watch your business bloom.