Converting Leads to Sales

How one company generated $4.9 million in additional sales pipeline growth in only 8 months

So you’ve just increased the effectiveness of your online lead capture by XX% using optimization strategies you’ve recently learned. Now what? How do you ensure that this gain is not lost in the sales pipeline? How do you keep the online marketing efforts you invested in to get the lead from being squandered?

Many marketers end their optimization efforts on the Web page, not realizing the significant revenue lost by not taking simple steps to optimize a lead before passing it off to Sales.

During this live one-hour presentation, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin and special guest Brian Carroll presented a case study in which one B2B company overcame the following lead nurturing challenges:

  • Marketing efforts were generating more activity, but overall sales results had stagnated
  • The company had a lead-to-sale pipeline conversion rate of under 2 percent
  • Sales did not close the loop on every lead
  • The team was unable to consistently measure ROI
  • Marketing felt as though all the leads generated went into “black hole”

Carroll discussed the specific methodology this company followed to “optimize their leads” and generate a 200% opportunity growth in the sales pipeline. This gain ultimately translated into $4.9 million in only 8 months, without a significant budget increase.

Carroll broke this lead optimization methodology into five important steps:

STEP 1: REFINE universal lead definition of “sales ready”
First, he discussed how to identify the precise qualities of a “sales-ready” lead as well as how to create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing to get everyone on the same page with a specific definition of different lead stages.

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STEP 2: QUALIFY leads based on universal lead definition
Once a universal lead definition of “sales-ready” has been established, Brian walked the audience through concrete steps to qualify those leads. He also provided a simple outline of the key questions marketers should answer at this stage in the process.

STEP 3: NURTURE early stage leads until “sales ready”
Next, the audience was given precise tactics for actually nurturing leads before passing them to sales. Carroll provided a lead nurturing timeline, as well as ideas for how to craft messaging that is relevant to a prospect in each stage of the process.

STEP 4: DEFINE hand-off process from Marketing to Sales
Once a lead is “sales-ready,” it must then be handed off to the sales department.
“This is often where the baton gets dropped,” Carroll said. For this reason, he walked marketers through tactics for establishing a hand-off process with Sales.

STEP 5: CLOSE the loop via Sales and Marketing “huddles”
Finally, in the last step, Carroll emphasized the need to establish a “huddle” between Marketing and Sales to “close the loop.” Marketing and Sales must compare notes, first on a weekly basis and then the teams can gradually move to quarterly meetings. He also discussed who should attend and what should topics should be covered.

LIVE Audience Q&A: At the close of the Web clinic, Carroll and Dr. McGlaughlin fielded the most common questions submitted by the audience for 15 minutes.

Overall, here are what some of the audience members had to say about the presentation:

“The level of detail far exceeded what I was expecting. It was superb!” -Arif

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“I thought Brian boiled down the common failings in Lead Generation and the importance of Marketing and Sales closing the information loop to better understand what criteria is working or better yet not working.” -Chris

“I liked the new concepts I was introduced to. I’d never thought about leads/sales/marketing in that way (nurturing).” – Karen

Download the MarketingExperiments Quarterly Research Journal:

Q1 2011


View the clinic replay, or listen to the audio recording (mp3), to learn more about how you can optimize your organizations leads.

Webinar Video 2011-03-30
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Credits:

Presenters
Dr. Flint McGlaughlin
Brian Carroll
Spencer Whiting

Writers
Brian Carroll
Austin McCraw
Daniel Burstein

Technical Production
Joelle Parra
Michael Price
Cliff Rainer

Additional Contributors
MECLABS Conversion Group

 

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