Sales Leads: Maximize Your Sales With Longer-Term Sales Leads

Want to learn how capture and nurture three-quarters of the sales lead market through effective communication efforts?


Whoa, you must first learn to slow down. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Well, the same lessons learned from this fable can be applied to your everyday business-to-business sales lead marketing efforts.


While business-to-business marketers race to snatch up the most promising and qualified short-term prospects that come in from any marketing-lead-generation initiative, nearly three-quarters of the sales leads that can convert to sales are being heavily ignored.


Why? Because salespeople are measured and paid for winning the race for short-term sales, usually causing them to focus on the easy sales opportunities and to ignore the longer term prospects. And because there usually is no process in place, the job of nurturing, managing and tracking the longer-term pipeline opportunities falls by the wayside.


This lack of a sales leads development process may be costing your organization big bucks in lost sales.


Do you have the patience to move slowly and steadily for the sales in those longer-term sales leads? Or have you, in essence, ended the race to win these latter-day sales?


Industry experts estimate that only one-quarter of those who are going to buy do so in the first six months. Yet, roughly another quarter buys within a seven- to 12-month period, another quarter buys in a 13 to 18-month period and the final quarter will purchase sometime after 18 months. If your organization’s concentration is on the first quarter, for quick selling turnaround, you are leaving the remainder of those sales leads (three out of four sales opportunities) out there for your competition to pick up.


These longer-term sales leads must be nurtured with a series of communications efforts designed to move prospects along in their buying cycles. In other words, the philosophy to getting your share of those future sales is simple-stay in sight, stay in mind and stay in the race.


Here are 4 questions to ask yourself when designing your sales lead nurturing programs:


How do we best deliver messages to the people who will influence or make the final buying decisions?

How do we stay with them as they move through their consideration and buying process?

How can we communicate in a way that addresses the prospects’ issues and reduces the perceived risk of buying from our company?

What can we offer that will cause the prospects to engage when they are ready to move forward with their buying process?

Want to engage prospects and start a sales-winning relationship with sales leads? Here’s how:


Use a series of ongoing communications-by mail, e-mail or phone-designed to keep pace with the prospects’ information needs to make decisions about your kinds of products or services. I’ve found that, as an added benefit, sales revenue per customer is usually significantly higher for those who are included in the prospect relationship-marketing program versus those who are not.


Be sure to include multiple offers that appeal to all stages of a prospect’s buying process. For example, if prospective customers are still early in their buying process, they will be more receptive to offers for free information in the form of how-to guides, white papers or e-mail newsletters. As prospects move further along in their buying process, appropriate offers may include those that require a higher level of interest or commitment on the part of the prospect. These include webinar invitations, demonstrations and checklists, and other decision-making tools. As prospects approach the buying ready point, they will be more receptive to such offers as longer, in-depth seminars, needs assessments or meetings with and getting proposals or quotations from your sales and marketing department.


If you use effective and efficient relationship communication skills and not just focus your company’s efforts on the easy or short-term sales leads, you can pick up the three out of four sales that others are leaving on the table. And that’s how you win the business marketer’s sales lead race.


M. H. “Mac” McIntosh is one of America’s leading business-to-business sales and marketing consultants and an expert on sales leads. As president of Mac McIntosh Inc., a sales and marketing consulting firm, he can help your company become moneymaking machines with high-quality business-to-business marketing sales leads. Check out Sales Lead Insights: B2B Marketing Blog for more tips on turning your sales leads into actual sales.

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