You’ve spent valuable time and resources creating high quality marketing leads, only to realize that they aren’t turning into sales wins. At some point, the leads must have been closed out or fell by the wayside, but you don’t have a clue as to what happened to them.
Were the leads good, or was there foul play? And how can you possibly make improvements without the proper feedback loop? Don’t stress – there’s still hope!
You can generate a couple of key reports using your sales force automation (SFA) tools that will help put the pieces of the puzzle together. Here are a few that I find particularly useful:
The Lead Velocity Report
This report will flag any leads or opportunities that are moving up or down the stages too quickly. If it takes the organization an average of 2.5 weeks to go from 5% to 25%, then this report will flag any deal that moved there in 2 days, for instance. If leads or opportunities are moving too quickly to close, the sales rep might not being giving them enough time to mature. In that case, throw them back into your nurturing bucket for further development.
The Close Report
This report will flag any leads or opportunities that were closed out before hitting 100%. You’ll want to focus your energy on opportunities with stages between 10-75%, where well-qualified deals shouldn’t be lost. If a lot of deals are being lost during those stages, you might want to understand why. This will give you clues as to whether you’ve identified the right decision makers or industry verticals.
The Win-Loss Report
This report helps you understand the ultimate reason why deals are won or lost. This report should not be reviewed by just the sales team, but by your marketing team as well. Knowing why people say “no” should help inform any changes you need to make to your marketing or sales programs. It will also let you know if a deal was mishandled.
Make sure you establish a relationship with your sales operations team, whose job it will be to run these reports. They can help you diagnose where things went wrong and provide valuable clues about how to fix them.
Now that you have some information around key SFA reports, here are a few common loss reasons that can be discovered and fixed based on these reports:
Lead Was Not Qualified
This is a popular reason for a sales team to close a lead. As marketers, we have to be careful to pass on only qualified leads to the sales team. That means qualifying for at least the most basic criteria – budget, authority, need and timeline. You can do this through your lead form, and if not, through further inbound qualification.
Lead or Opportunity Went Dark
If a deal goes dark, one might argue that the urgency and need of the product was not properly established. You can either blame the sales person, or focus on creating early-funnel thought leadership assets that help educate the potential buyer and build a use case for your product.
Customer Doesn’t Have BudgetWhen a customer says he doesn’t have a budget, it means your sales team is probably talking to a middle manager who is compensated for managing a portion of a much larger budget. It also means that the decision makers you are targeting are not senior enough. Change your lead strategy to go after the VP or C-level buyer – someone who can see the bigger picture and change the budget to accommodate a need to have product.
With a little bit of sleuthing, it’s easy to come up with a few strategies to improve the efficacy of your lead generation programs. By partnering with your sales operations team, you can get to the solution even faster.
What are some of the techniques you use to provide a feedback loop on your lead gen programs?
David T. Scott has served as CMO and head of marketing for startups, Fortune 500 companies and billion-dollar organizations, including GE, AT & T Wireless, PeopleSoft, Foresee, and Intermec. He is the author of The New Rules Of Lead Generation.
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