Checked your database lately? Well, you might want to do just that
considering this startling statistic: 93% of hard-earned sales leads
placed into a database are never‹that's right‹never‹followed up.
According to industry studies 80% to 93% of the sales leads that a
company's marketing department generates for their sales forces are
never acted upon. Unfortunately, they get placed in a database and
forgotten. This study substantiates the old sales adage that a sales
person's rolodex is gold, waiting to be discovered. As the sales
team's leader, it's your responsibility to give life to these leads to
avoid having your sales team operate in the "seven percent" world of
Here are some ways to avoid this trap:
- Before leads are put into a database, be sure their value is
conveyed to the sales reps so they will know what to expect when
calling on them. Without defining and communicating the value of the
leads, your sales people may as well be making cold calls.
- Be accurate in defining whether the lead is an A, B, C, or D lead. No
spin here. That only serves to demoralize the sales rep and prompts
them to think that all other leads may be overvalued.
- Institute a systematic follow-up plan into your lead generation plan. A cat may
have nine lives, but your leads don't. They require systematic,
frequent follow-up or they'll either die a quick death or end up as
somebody else's customer.
- Sleeping bags are in order. Prepare your
sales team for the long haul. Even in a good economy, major decisions
are not impulse buys. Even when the buyer knows and likes you, it can
still take 4 to 6 contacts before they buy. When they have no
familiarity with you or your product/service it's not unreasonable to
expect 10 to 12 contacts before a prospect will even consider closing
the sale. It's your job to prepare your sales team for the long haul
and the importance of not giving up.
- Design special sales campaigns
that are memorable with relevant follow-up procedures your sales
people can explain. Brilliance is great, but it evaporates fast.
Remember, your prospects get tantalizing offers from your competitors
as well. Don't expect them to remember your brilliant campaign any
longer than the next one that crosses their desk. Instead, build
relevancy into a frequent follow-up so that you continue to stand out.
- Finally, as you cull out that 93% of leads that never got followed
up on before, weed out everything but the top 10 percent‹the one's
that are truly viable. From hereon out, only add quality, qualified
leads to the database and make sure your sales people continue to call
on them until they buy or die.
A seven-percent follow-up rate is totally unacceptable when it comes
to sales leads that were likely difficult to attain, qualify and
distribute. As the sales team leader, you know your team can do better
than that. Now go make it happen.