• Best Practice for Managing Inbound Marketing Leads

    Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Inbound Marketing Summit 2012 held in Boston and put on by the great people at The Pulse Network.  If you were unable to attend, you missed out on some great sessions providing ideas on how to optimize your inbound marketing strategies.

    The two biggest themes of the event, which should come as no surprise, were the use of mobile marketing and engaging with consumers through social media networks. Mobile is the next evolution in the marketing process and should become a part of your strategy, if it hasn’t already, as we prepare for 2013. Telling your story through social media networks, instead of selling your product, was a big focus for a few of the sessions; whether it be through video content on YouTube, or digital content such as case studies, checklists, and ebooks that helps lead prospects down your funnel.

    One of the biggest questions that came from many of the marketers I spoke with was what to do with the inbound leads they have generated? We are so focused on collecting names and contact information from potential prospects that we lose sight of the most important piece, which is sales pipeline impact. The money spent to generate these leads loses its value without having a proper qualification process in place that can progess your inbound leads into sales qualified opportunities.

    One of the stats that resonated the most with me from the conference was that 43% of organizations do not follow up on all their inbound leads. Another interesting stat was that approximately 70% of organizations do not follow up properly with there inbound leads; meaning they only put in one call and one email to the prospect before discarding the opportunity.

    So what is the best way to maximize your leads and get the sales pipeline needed to show a great ROI? A qualification process needs to be in place, whether it is done by an internal inside sales team or outsourced, to make the best use of the contact information your marketing department has generated. Most organizations tend to move unqualified leads over to their sales department and expect the sales reps to have the time to properly qualify these opportunities.

    The reality of the situation is that most sales reps will cherry pick through these opportunities, only focusing on the ones they feel will have the best results. When using this process marketers can expect around a 10-30% conversion into sales qualified leads.  So out of the 100 leads you just generated as a marketer, your only looking at 10-30 that may move to a next step in the sales process.

    With a proper qualification process in place, whether that is through teleprospecting, lead nurturing, email campaigns, or (the best option) a combination of all three strategies, you can expect to see that 10-30% number increase to approximately 60-80%. The idea is that your inside sales team will take the time to qualify your prospects properly, only moving them to sales when the customer is ready. The minimum amount of touches your leads will need before moving them on to sales is approximately eight.  Sales reps don’t have the time, or the focus to nurture these prospect properly, which results in such a low conversion number.

    So now that you have incorporated a great inbound strategy to increase the number of marketing qualified leads generated, make sure you are taking advantage of these opportunities by properly qualifying your leads before you get your sales team involved. Doing so will increase the ROI for your marketing campaigns and maximize their value.

    Jonathan Catley is a Business Development Representative at AG Salesworks.  To view all company blogs go to AG Salesworks blog site.

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