Archive for Sales

Posted in B2B, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

Get ‘Em While They’re Hot: Six Ways to Maximize Lead Conversion

In today’s competitive business landscape, your company is undoubtedly spending significant dollars to generate leads. In fact, you’re likely branching out to newer technologies and channels—such as mobile, text messaging, social media, and Web videos—to bring in more leads.

Though you’re increasing your inbound leads, what happens once you get them? Do your lead-response efforts take advantage of your lead flow? Could your lead-conversion rates use a boost? Without successful conversion, leads are essentially useless.

Here are six steps that’ll immediately increase your lead-conversion rates.

1. Focus on speed to lead

According to a Kellogg study, the odds of reaching a lead increases 100% if the lead is called within five minutes rather than 30 minutes. The study also found that the odds of qualifying and converting a lead increases 21 times if the lead is called within five minutes vs. 30. Calling leads immediately—before your competition—turns rapid response time into a competitive advantage.

2. Convert leads to conversations—then to sales

Don’t get caught up measuring how many leads you’re getting. The question is, How many are you talking to? Converting more leads starts with more conversations. Don’t rely on email to initiate contact with a hot lead. Instantly calling incoming prospects means that you can spend more time closing sales—and less time pursuing cold leads.

3. Don’t rely on CRM systems

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can stand in the way of immediately reaching your leads by phone. A LeadQual study found that only 40% of leads receive a response via telephone within 24 hours. In the several hours or full business day it may take your CRM system to route incoming lead information to you, your competition may have already contacted and closed the sale.

4. Connect first using lead-response management services

The LeadQual study found that speed is the single largest driver of conversion and being the first business to contact a lead increases conversion 238%. Lead-response management services are designed to connect you with incoming leads by calling you immediately and giving you relevant information about the lead. Such services prompt you to be instantly connected with a prospect, offering the opportunity to begin a sales conversation. Clients of one lead-response management service have experienced lead-conversion-rate increases of up to 300% after using the service.

5. Be available—anywhere, anytime

Not there? No problem. As a busy marketer, you’re often away from your desk. According to a Leads360 study, weekend and after-hour leads are extremely valuable, but they are often neglected. Similarly, a LeadQual report found that enormous opportunity exists for after-hour and weekend calling when many companies aren’t staffed for rapid response. In the age of mobility, there’s no excuse to miss an incoming lead. Lead-response management services enable marketers and sales reps to receive detailed lead information by phone—and to make immediate phone contact with the lead, regardless of the rep’s location.

6. Be systematically persistent

You already know that persistence is key to sales success. But consistently following up with leads is easier said than done. A Leads360 report found that 35% of leads are reached on the first call and up to 72% are reached with the second call—but 48% of leads never get a second call. Accordingly, some lead-response management services offer systematic reattempt capabilities that automatically call reps with lead information, offering one-touch connection with leads for instant phone conversations on the second and subsequent attempts. As a result, no lead goes to waste, and more connections are made.

* * *

You’re competing hard to generate new inquiries and prospects, but that’s not where the battle ends. You are, in essence, wasting marketing dollars if you don’t apply the same amount of effort to lead response and conversion that you do to lead generation.

Make the most of your hard-fought incoming leads by putting in place systems that’ll immediately connect you with leads by phone, help you close more sales, and ultimately, maximize your lead conversion rates.

Posted in B2B, Consumer Behavior, eMarketing with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

How to Build Your Own Customized B2B Prospecting Lists for Free

customized prospecting list is a great resource for your cold calling, direct mail, and email marketing efforts. If you prefer to “do it yourself,” here are nine steps for building a free B2B marketing database for your outbound marketing campaigns.

1. Identify the industry

Start by picking the industry and, if possible, the sub-industry. Some of the resources listed at the end of this article offer free industry lookup, including Jigsaw.com and Manta.com. You can also conduct a SIC code lookup for the target industries at Osha.gov. Build separate lists if you want to cover multiple industries.

2. Identify companies

Define the broad criteria that will help you identify companies within the chosen industry. You can segment by revenue, geography, number of employees, etc. (e.g., software product companies with a revenue range of $100-$500 million in North America).

Perform searches using those free tools I mentioned to come up with the list of companies. This step will help you determine the market size. If you come up with, say, 500 companies on your list but you need more, adjust the industry criteria and run another search.

3. Select companies

You can now select the companies you like. Download or copy the list of companies to a spreadsheet. Keep all the data you get, such as revenue, industry, number of employees, etc., with the company name in the spreadsheet. That will later help you segment and target your marketing campaigns.

4. Identify titles or roles

Build a list of keywords that appear in the titles of your targets. If your decision-makers are not easily identifiable by title, identify the department your target contact is likely to be located in, such as IT, Human Resources, Marketing, Manufacturing, etc. You may have to conduct role-based contact discovery instead of title-based discovery.

5. Choose level

Define what level of decision-maker, user, or influencer you intend to target, such as manager, director, VP, C-level, etc.; also, clearly note the levels you do not want to target, such as analyst, coordinator, assistant, etc. Doing so will help you select or drop those contacts in subsequent searches. It can also serve as a guideline in case you decide to give this list-building job to an intern or to outsource it to a list-provider company.

6. Standardize spreadsheet format

In the header row, write all the data attributes you want to capture (e.g., name, mailing address, phone number, email). Check the import format of your CRM (if you are using one) to make importing easy. A uniform format will immensely help you organize, segment, and analyze the data.

7. Begin Internet research

Internet research is the most important and time-consuming step. Check out (a) the company website (b) LinkedIn (c) search engines (d) industry associations, etc. Do that in the same order of priority to get the most relevant and accurate information.

Keep filling your spreadsheet with information you get on your prospects. In certain cases, you may not be able to fill in all the data attributes of a particular contact. Don’t worry; just keep moving through your list.

8. Refine the search process

Note the time you are spending on research. Try to optimize the research time and benchmark it (e.g., 10-12 contacts per hour). That will help you budget your time to build the list for your outbound marketing campaigns.

Determine whether you can build the lists yourself or need more resources. For example, if your goal is to build a database of 1,000 contacts, and your research is producing 10 contacts per hour, you know you will need 100 hours of research.

9. Validate

Start calling to verify the prospect list you just built. Many times, front-office staff or an assistant will be able to validate the information. Remember, you are not marketing or selling to them at this stage. Draft a calling script that’ll quickly help you verify the contact information.

Free Web resources for building B2B marketing databases

http://www.linkedin.com/

http://www.manta.com/

http://www.jigsaw.com/

http://www.zoominfo.com/

http://www.thomasnet.com/

http://www.alibaba.com/

http://dir.yahoo.com/business_and_economy/