In a study conducted over a recent 60-day period, lead generation and sales support company EB Quickstart, acting on Sales Engine’s behalf, produced the following conclusions: 1. When inside sales resources followed up immediately on marketing-generated, email newsletter click throughs, they produced 3.21x more appointments than cold calling
2. When inside sales resources followed up immediately on marketing-generated email campaigns which nurtured prospects over several months, directing sales reps to target leads that a) responded to campaigns and b) have built high lead scores, they produced 8.78x more appointments than cold calling.
Level categories: Level 3: Multi-Touch Highly Scored Leads Level 1,2 & 3: Email Opens
Here’s how it worked:
An inside sales rep began calling leads immediately after campaign launch, prioritizing their calls by click-throughs first. Here’s what the data reflected:
– 0.6% of leads with ‘No score’ (i.e. no open or click through) converted to an appointment
– 2.5% of all scored leads (light open and click activity) converted to an appointment
– 5.3% of highly scored leads (that clicked through on multiple campaigns over multiple months) converted to an appointment
I have Good News and Bad News
Are you surprised by this? You shouldn’t be. The good news is that marketing automation and lead scoring conventions have gone a long way in making prospect “click activity” visible to marketers that employ marketing automation suites such as Manticore or Eloqua. Prospect databases can be intelligently segmented; relevant campaigns can be executed that entice suspects/prospects to “raise their hands” digitally, through their click activity. This is how it is supposed to work, and it does! It is especially effective for the companies that integrate their marketing and sales efforts to engage these prospects in relevant conversation immediately after they show their interest.
Now here’s the bad news. It’s still only 5% of the highly scored leads that were successfully booked for an appointment! And it took multiple calls to secure these appointments. So what do we take from this? Well, here are a few learnings that should be of interest:
1. Your “stud muffin” sales person will not be too enthused about following up on eMail click throughs. These prospects may be qualified by marketing standards (i.e. a Marketing Qualified Lead), but may not be a Sales Qualified Lead because they may not have an active evaluation underway. You want your closers working on the “now deals”. The “chase” is still a lot of work.
2. Outbound calls by a junior level, inside sales rep, who will qualify the opportunities, and then hand them to the “closers” have proven to be the most effective way to leverage these opportunities, making your sales stars most productive.
3. Outbound marketing is still “interruptive” in nature. The prospect is not necessarily in the market for your product, but building awareness with your target market is always wise. You will still need other means of generating viable prospects. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important step. Prospects use search engines when they are “actively” gathering data, usually to make a recommendation or buying decision. They should be closer to the purchasing event.
So, if you are on the marketing automation journey, congratulations! This is the NEW NORMAL. If you don’t build awareness this way, you are losing ground to your competitors. But be realistic. You need to be both building awareness, and courting active shoppers. The most successful companies that we see employ an inside sales resource to qualify the Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and then eventually pass on only the Sales Qualified Leads to your best selling resources.