B2B Data Quest
A B2B company generates leads in a number
of ways: buying data from specialized 3rd-party
provider(s), capturing data of respondents to advertisements (trade magazines,
TV, website, phone etc.), customer referrals, lead generation efforts of sales-force,
social media, exhibitions/shows etc.
Irrespective of the source, the ultimate
objective of lead generation is to lead to sales conversion. To convert these ‘prospects to customers’,
requires an effort/investment in managing, nurturing and monitoring leads.
Leads represent important sales
opportunities. However, inefficient management of leads results in failure to
convert prospects to customers. This can
be avoided by making a specific sales/marketing person responsible to manage
leads and track the outcome. In this
manner, companies can boost conversions and reduce the risk of wasting their
investment in lead generation.
database for easy reviews and prioritizing
All leads need to be recorded in a central
database using easily-available CRM tools. Central database eliminates the risk of data
loss, avoids duplication, and, provides a common platform for effectively
managing the sales cycle. The sales/marketing
team should review each lead to assess the probability of a sale and decide appropriate
action. Some leads may be ‘hot’ and to
be immediately ‘exploited’, some may require further development. When dealing
with thousands of leads, it is critical to prioritize sales and marketing
actions: Sales probability, likely time needed to close a
deal, potential value of the sale etc.
Lead management provides the sales team
with relevant information about each ‘hot’ prospect and the source of each
lead. Companies can make sales
conversions by quickly/efficiently responding to these hot leads. Follow-up action: surveys, regular customer
contact through service calls, invitation to/interaction at events etc.,
increases the probability of repeat orders and referrals.
Not all leads are ‘hot’/convert to
sales. Review of other leads may
indicate that they are not yet ready to buy, for a variety of reasons. The objective of ‘nurturing’ leads is to
boost conversions by maintaining contact and increasing the prospects’ interest
in offered product/service. Some
commonly used techniques are: newsletters,
white/technical papers, invitation to events/seminars, product demonstrations etc. Over time, this kind of engagement could
sufficiently attract these prospects to the ‘purchasing’ point. From here, the sales force can ‘takes over’