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The reasons salespeople struggle to follow-up on leads that marketing gives them has long been the affliction for marketers and salespeople alike.
Getting sales and marketing to agree on what a good lead looks like can be challenging at best—and painful at worst. This is especially the case in B2B organizations where there’s a long sales-cycle or solutions-based products.
There are many types of B2B lead management issues, yet there are five issues that we often see that are relatively straight-forward to address and don’t require much investment of time or money.
I’ll go over these common issues and offer best-practice insight to correct them and get more from every lead that goes to the sales team.
Five B2B Sales Lead Management Issues & How to Fix Them
1. B2B Sales Lead Management Taking Too Long to Follow-up
Nearly half of all sales are made by the person who gets in touch with a lead first.
Best-in-class companies are making contact with a lead within a few to several minutes of receiving it.
Unfortunately, a ten-minute follow-up time isn’t realistic for most B2B sales teams as they are usually on the road, or in calls or meetings. The data is irrefutably clear – getting in touch with lead contacts as quickly as possible is a competitive advantage.
Best Practice: As soon as a lead is assigned to a salesperson, have the CRM or marketing automation tool fire off an email to contact. Ask them to book a time to meet (using Calendly), or next steps to get in touch.
2. Lack of Purpose or Preparation
Most B2B salespeople don’t do any / enough CRM or web research before dialing the phone or crafting an email.
The purpose of the follow-up effort should not start with “Hey, I got a lead from my marketing team that you are interested in our product. How can I help?”
Pre-call planning is just as crucial for lead follow-up as an in-person visit. Developing a better understanding of the customer’s business and industry, competitors that you may do business with, or past contact history in the CRM will allow for a more expansive conversation and separation from the competition.
Best Practice: Reinforce the need and value of pre-call planning and leveraging the CRM contact history.
3. Lack of Stick To-It-Ness
Fast lead contact follow-up is the first step, which could require multiple contact attempts over a short period. Rarely do salespeople call or email too often when it comes to lead follow-up.
It’s widely reported that most B2B salespeople give up on a lead after one contact attempt – five or more attempts provide a 70%+ chance of getting in touch with them.
Best Practice: This one is easy. Create at least five follow-up activities in the CRM, to-do-list, calendar or email application, and stick-to-it! Emails, calls, or a combination may be required.
4. Not Leveraging All Channels of Communication
Phone calls and emails are becoming “old school” in modern sales efforts, which is why top B2B salespeople are expanding their channels of communication with customers, prospects, and leads.
Social media (LinkedIn, Twitter), discussion boards, blogs, text, and chat are all fair game to reach out to leads.
But you can’t be on every channel all the time. How do you pick the right ones for your leads?
Best Practice: Start leveraging channels beyond phone and email. Realize that what works for one contact may not work for the other. So try using multiple channels and practice often.
5. B2B Sales Lead Management Not Working Collaboratively With The Marketing Team
The marketing teams likely spend a material portion of their budget on lead generation, and they know they don’t always get it right. However, they go bonkers when they see that salespeople don’t follow-up on leads on a timely basis.
Marketers need feedback from sales to understand better, which leads are good or bad. Without input from sales, they don’t know how to calibrate their efforts to get better.
Marketers need to justify their budgets and demonstrate the ROI from their marketing initiatives. If salespeople are lackadaisical about lead follow-up, documenting follow-up, or converting leads correctly, then the marketing will be less likely to continue investing in marketing initiatives.
Best Practice: Edwards Deming said, “In God We Trust. Everyone else brings data.” Marketers need to develop the reports and dashboards that provide visibility and insight that sales leaders, sales, and marketing need to measure and manage how well salespeople are following up, documenting activities, and converting leads. There is always room for improvement, and it starts with setting a baseline and improving from that point on.
So there you have the best practices to fix five frequently encountered B2B sales lead management issues.
The cost to deliver qualified B2B leads continues to increase, thus addressing some of the problems mentioned in the post that can organically increase marketing ROI with minimal additional investment is key.