Scheduling New Appointments for Sales from Increased Qualified Sales Leads.
The ABC Glove Corporation (not the real name) is a leader in the field of industrial gloves. The average value of a new customer account to ABC is high -— around $50,000 per customer per year. The target contact is a decision maker in safety, operations or purchasing within metal manufacturing industries.
ABC’s ambitious goal was to gain $2.5 million in incremental sales. The corporation’s marketing department tried everything: pay-per-click advertising, email, tradeshows and more -—-but could not acquire enough qualified sales leads to hit this target. ABC called us in to help them take a fresh and more productive approach that would result in more appointments for the sales department.
First, we identified the sales-ready “A” lead criteria based on their selling process and marketplace. Then we did some simple, back-of-the-napkin analysis of the needs of the lead-to-sales funnel. Based on the estimations of the vice president of marketing, we found that achieving an incremental $2.5 million in annual sales at $50,000 per sale meant they would have to close 50 new sales in a year. At a 20% proposal close rate, they needed 250 qualified sales opportunities in the proposal stage. At a 25% conversion rate (qualified sales-ready A leads to proposal rate), ABC needed 1,000 “Qualified A” leads in the sales team pipeline. And the conversion rate of marketing inquiry level (MQL) leads to sales-ready A leads is 10%. The bottom line: ABC Corporation needed 10,000 MQLs in the top of the demand generation funnel process to be able to hit their incremental sales target.
Why Wouldn’t Email Alone Work?
The VP of marketing estimated that on the high end, the available universe of contacts in companies in metal manufacturing was roughly 7,500. If ABC emailed all 7,500 and got a 1% inbound response, that would equal 75. If 50% of those leads filled out a form, that would result in 35 marketing-level MQL leads. ABC would have to email to this list at least 285 times to get the 10,000 marketing-level leads in the pipeline. (But it is unlikely that every email would result in a 1% inbound response as the response rates from this small audience would decline over time.) So email alone could not achieve the sales goals.
Multi-Touch and Multi-Channel Solution
Under the conditions of this small but highly valuable target market, we determined that ABC needed a much higher lead-to-sale conversion process to meet their sales goals. We recommended a multi-touch and multi-channel sequence of email and tele-prospecting. This would result in actual appointments being made for the sales department.
We normally recommend testing different approaches with a small sample of prospects to see which approach stimulates the highest response level. In this case, we tested two offers. A book about physical safety in the metal manufacturing environment versus the offer of a free pair of gloves. The VP of marketing suggested the offer of a free pair of gloves because in his experience, the prospect would request a sample pair in any case, so he felt this would short-circuit the process to some degree. We were less certain, as we have found in the past that a free sample sometimes feels like too much of a commitment early in the relationship. We also tested two lists, an in-house list versus a rental list.
The test showed that the appeal of the offer was about equal between the gloves and the book. (We went with the gloves for the roll out campaign). Both lists performed equally well.
The Multi-Touch Lead Nurturing Process Involved:
Initial email campaign.
- Initial call (left voice message or in some accounts we must be directed to proper contact).
- Call to engage new contact in the value prop and offers.
- Email to the correct contact, and or email content as requested to support our dialog.
- Call to complete the value prop and offer conversation, listen to needs and pain points and gather those critical data points into the lead qualification script-record, and if qualified, close on ABC sales rep appointment.
We often find it takes seven to thirteen touches to deliver a sales-ready lead. In this case, the average number of touches was 4.28. Why did our campaign for ABC require so few touches? The answer is embedded in our multi-touch best practices:
Have a good list (few incorrect contacts).
- Develop creative that captures hearts and minds and have follow up content and dialog to support it.
- Offer something of high perceived value.
- Optimize the value proposition delivery by adding tele-prospecting to the mix. This creates a personal relationship with the prospect. Remember: people buy from people, and prospects don’t share their qualifying pain points on lead forms.
We were able to generate enough qualified sales appointments to help them meet their additional $2.5 million sales goal, and we taught them how to sustain this level of growth year over year.
Laurie B. Beasley is co-founder and president of Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. Beasley Direct is a Silicon Valley direct marketing agency that has managed search, email, online, and demand generation campaigns for nearly 100 companies. Ms. Beasley serves as President of the Direct Marketing Association of Northern California. Laurie manages the eMarketing Roundtable for the BMA Northern California. She is also an instructor of online marketing at UC Berkeley Extension and teaches for the Online Marketing Institute. Ms. Beasley frequently speaks on online marketing and demand generation topics for marketing organizations, including the DMA, BMA, AMA, Tech Council, and the Online Marketing Summit.
Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. is known for bringing the latest marketing strategies to online and direct marketing. The company provides services in email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, website design, media planning, direct mail marketing, lead generation and nurture campaigns, and database management. Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. helps clients in both B2B and B2C marketing. Beasley Direct and Online Marketing is privately held and headquartered in the Silicon Valley suburb, Morgan Hill, California. For more information, go to www.BeasleyDirect.com or call Laurie Beasley, President, at 408-782-0046 x21 or email [email protected].