As Homeport’s Managing Partner, I am the one to take the calls from B2B revenue influencers in need. Earlier this week I spoke with two prospects who were desperately seeking help with “lead generation.” One was a B2B technology company and the other a B2B service provider.
For the B2B service provider, the need was defined as “leads for my sales team.” I listened as the CEO described the frustration of his inside sales staff. “There are just not enough leads coming in, and my team cannot hit the sales numbers,” he said.
When I asked how many leads were needed and at what percentage of conversion to opportunity for the team to achieve the sales goal the phone went silent. After talking in generalities, he finally admitted that he wasn’t sure.
The conversation was similar when speaking to the marketing director of the B2B technology company. Her sales manager had her (and the CEO) convinced that his team was missing monthly sales goals because her marketing efforts were not driving enough leads.
We spoke at length about her current lead gen efforts, how leads are qualified as they flowed through the funnel and what happens once they cross the great divide into sales. She admitted that there wasn’t a specific process and that despite trying to track leads and sales conversion, she didn’t know what those numbers were but thought the sales manager might.
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
I found the most interesting takeaway from both of these conversations was that neither of these revenue influencers had solid answers to the questions I asked. Neither had a handle on lead generation, conversion rates or most importantly what it would take to hit their revenue goals.
It made me wonder if the issue was simply that they never look at the sales and marketing data they have – other than the revenue numbers – or if they simply don’t track it. Neither of these scenarios is good news, especially when you are being asked to increase leads and drive sales to grow your company.
I shared a list of marketing and sales metrics that revenue influencers need to track and discuss to get the most out of their lead generation and sales efforts with both of these prospects in my follow-up. In talking to the team about this, we decided to share the list here for any other revenue influencers that might need some help.
Stuff You Need to Know
The total number of leads coming in. This includes all the referrals your sales people get that they never mention to you. The call-ins that come in but, never get called back by a sales rep. Don’t forget all the web-driven leads that flow into your email, marketing automation database or CRM. Track this by day, week or month. Just track it.
Where does each lead come from? The source of the lead is one of the most important things you can capture. Get specific. What channel were they in? What ad did they respond to? Where did you meet them? Who referred them to you? This is all simple stuff, but you have to be sure you get this information either manually or automatically. Create a CRM field and make sure the source makes it there.
How qualified is each lead? You have to decide on the criterion that makes a lead qualified and then weigh that criterion against each lead. Do they fit the profile of your target customer? Is the contact the decision-maker? Are they ready to buy or just starting their research? What’s their timeline? Choose the 4 or 5 questions you have to ask every new lead and start capturing the answers.
What market segment are they in? In every business, you have prospect segments that have unique needs. Each of these segment should have specific messaging for nurturing and sales communication. You have to know where they fit to communicate the right message and address their specific pain points or needs.
Wait, There’s More
What’s the value of the sales opportunity? Best case scenario, what can you sell them in the near term? Is there a recurring revenue opportunity? What is this opportunity worth to your company?
Won or Lost? Did they buy or not? If they just say “call me later,” count is as a loss and drop it into your reengagement campaign.
What was the value of the sale? This is crucial to determining your cost per lead and your cost per sale. It also allows you to begin modeling your perfect prospects based upon their actions and spend levels.
How long did it take to close the sale? From the day they entered the buyer journey to the day they signed the deal. Tracking this will help with forecasting and tell you whether or not to front-load your marketing dollars.
All the Data Is There
Most of this information is coming into both of the companies I spoke to; it is just doing so in a very fragmented way. As I explained to each of the callers, the key is to have a central collection point. There are many marketing and sales technologies that not only track and report the data, but provide for defined lead-to-revenue management.
Even if you are not sure what to do with the information at this point start collecting and tracking it. I promise you it will uncover valuable insights that will lead you to more profitable and sustainable growth. If you need more help with this, connect with our team, we’re happy to walk you through it.