In 2015 Forrester Research concluded that one of the most significant causes of stress and disruption in an organisation is ‘poor lead to revenue management’ [L2RM]. That is, the inability to generate enough qualified leads to fulfil your sales team’s pipeline. Failure to generate a sustainable level of qualified leads not only directly affects revenue, but your cost structure too, as an increase attrition rate of sales executives impacts the bottom line.
Under poor management even highly talented sales executives will fail. Below are key findings which contribute to sales teams not achieving quota.
– Less than 40% of B2B Sales Teams are getting qualified leads from marketing
– 60% of sales executives say their greatest challenge is generating more leads
– 81% of B2B sales executives must build multiple relationships with decision makers during the sales cycle
– 64% say they aren’t effectively targeting right decision makers
The opportunity cost of spending too much time chasing up unqualified means real opportunities can go stale. Sales Executives only spend 41% of their time actually “selling”.
And the cost of a slow response…
– Leads responded to within 5 minutes are 100X more likely to be contacted and 21X more likely to be qualified
– Waiting just 10 minutes to respond drops the likelihood of qualifying the lead 4X
– 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first
Inside Sales recently released the results from their ‘Top Challenges’ survey. This is the third time the survey has been conducted since 2012 and the results from the 200 companies that responded continue to conclude lead quality is the biggest problem facing sales teams.
New Recruits are Doomed from the Beginning…
A case study by Alexander Group found that;
– Top performing sales representatives often inherited the most lucrative accounts through attrition not ability and consequently are also unfairly given access to qualified leads. Conversely, new recruits often inherit poor performing existing accounts and unqualified leads.
– On average it takes at least 7-9 months for a new sales member to become productive within an organisation.
Therefore the stresses of demanding immediate results within an unjust system will result in further attrition as frustrated sales executives fail to meet quota.
Cost of Not Implementing a “Pull” Strategy a.k.a “Social Selling”
During the past few years, the sales organisation has lost its control of the sales cycle.
“In the past, sales were dictating the flow of information — cold calling, sending out corporate marketing literature, meeting with prospective customers, conducting sales presentations and arranging high-level executive meetings in more of a push selling model. Now customers are deciding when and where the sales engagement will actually begin as well as how and where that interaction will take place in more of a pull model.” – Hank Barnes, research director at Gartner.
To back up this claim Gartner’s research found 71% of buyers will typically initiate contact or accept a contact request with a new provider during the exploration or early evaluation streams of the buying cycle.
Given 71% of buyers will engage with new vendors either early or midway through the evaluation process demonstrates the importance of a content marketing / social selling strategy to capture a decision makers interest.
Furthermore, LinkedIn’s own research uncovered sales professionals who employ a social selling strategy;
– Create 45% more opportunities
– 51% more likely to achieve quota
– 98% of sales executives who have 5000+ LinkedIn connections beat quota
Conversely, LinkedIn’s research is sobering reading for the majority of users who “on average score 22.8” out of a possible 100 in their Social Selling Index (SSI). That is, on average people are only using the platform to 1/5th of its potential.
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