Building a Sales Pipeline: The importance of a long-term approach to lead generation.
We’ve worked for many organisations in Australia, across the Asia-Pacific, in the UK and in Europe and we have managed sales lead generation programmes that run for only a few weeks and those that run for several years. Of course, it makes sense that the longer the project runs, the better the results, but why is this?
We decided to analyse the way our lead generation programmes actually perform, to see what we could find.
The results are very interesting, because it turns out that 74% of the sales leads we generate come from the first conversation with the relevant decision maker. But a sizeable 26% of sales leads come from the second or subsequent conversation with this person (25% required at least 3 conversations). And with these prospects it took an average of 36 days from first call to the lead being generated (it ranged from 8.5 days to 125 days). Just to be clear, these are conversations with the relevant decision maker, they don’t include those with the receptionist and other gatekeepers etc.
These findings apply regardless of industry, level of decision maker, size of company and so on. What it’s really saying is that the power of successful lead generation does not come just from identifying prospects who are ready to meet up today. There’s a significant number who are interested in what’s on offer, but are not ready to meet after just one conversation.
A long-term approach to lead generation is therefore vital. It allows you to stay in touch with all these prospects over a number of weeks and months and to maximise the number of leads generated. But only if it is done consistently, with follow up calls being made when they’ve been promised. A lead generation campaign that runs for only a few months, or starts and stops, misses out on these long-term leads and you lose 26% of the potential leads that can be generated for your sales team.
These findings highlight the importance of developing good rapport from the start and delivering such a good message – your “conversation” – that it piques the interest of prospects so that they want you to stay in touch with them until they are ready to take the next step (they are genuinely interested).
To put it another way, a significant number of good opportunities are lost by focusing only on prospects who show an interest today, by delivering a sub-standard message in the first place so that potential prospects don’t engage or by failing to follow up on time, every time.
Of course, it doesn’t stop here. Once sales leads are in your sales funnel, it’s equally vital that you stay in touch with them. As Martin Walsh, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer at Ansarada says, 70% of prospects will leak out of the sales funnel, due to a lack of follow-up. However, 86% of these lost prospects will buy what you are selling at some point. In other words, they have a need for what you sell, but it’s not an immediate need. By failing to follow up consistently, these great prospects will leave your sales funnel and once they’ve gone, the chances are they’ll end up buying from your competitors.
This is also highlighted in another one of our recent blogs which looks at the effect of stopping your lead generation campaign over December and January. To understand more about what you miss out on at this time of year, take a look here.
If you’d like to see what a consistent lead generation or inside sales programme would do for your business, please call us on 1300 396 888 or email email@example.com
Find out more about our client results and the effectiveness of our telemarketing and lead generation services by viewing the results of our client survey here.