According to SiriusDecisions, as many as 78 percent of sales leads receive no follow-up. That’s a figure sure to keep CFO’s and VP of Sales awake at night. But that 78 percent number also represents a source of incredible opportunity. By simply creating a process to contact more leads — and therefore better understand why current leads go uncontacted — what kind of revenue increase could result?
If timely and proper lead follow-up is a challenge for companies with internal sales teams surrounded by four walls, it’s easy to see why the poor lead follow-up problem is exacerbated significantly in a business model where sales leads are handed-off between different companies.
For one, channel partners sell numerous products from numerous providers, which in and of itself makes it all too easy for opportunities to fall through the cracks. The process is further complicated because manufacturers and distributors are working from different systems, workflows, and even time zones. And therein lies the challenge: No one company controls the lead-to-revenue process. As a lead generator, you hand-off a sales lead to what can be described as a black hole. Was it a quality lead? How soon was it contacted? What is the lead’s real-time status in the pipeline? What do my distributors think about a lead’s quality and closability?
When this information doesn’t readily exist, the result is costly.
And not just in terms of inefficiencies and workarounds, but in actual real dollars of revenue being lost due to slow or no follow-up, poor sales enablement, or lack of communication.
Rather than spend more budget on generating new leads, there is significant value to be uncovered when you focus on maximizing the revenue potential that are already exists among your current leads. To do that, requires:
Visibility. We’ve all heard that you can’t fix what you can’t see, and that idiom holds true here. Does your current system give you an accurate, real-time picture of your sales pipeline, as well as future sales projections? What’s your cost of customer acquisition, and your conversation rates by distributor? It’s difficult to measure, plan and improve without tools that deliver this kind of business-critical information. The alternative is throwing your marketing dollars at a board and hoping they land near the bullseye.
Distributor Engagement. Close collaboration, communication and constant feedback are key components to creating a relationship with channel partners that yields higher close rates. To do this, build in a mechanism that increases communication and enables a true feedback loop on the quality and status of each lead you generate.
Data-driven Decisions. By gaining a clear picture of contact rates, engagement metrics, and deal progression, conversion rates from existing lead flow will naturally increase. Data will also help you identify high performing channel partners versus those that need extra attention, and will aid in distributor acquisition and retention.
When these three elements — visibility, distributor engagement and data-driven decisions — work in unison from a single platform, channel-based businesses can experience a 300 percent increase in channel engagement and a 20 percent increase in revenue. Now those are the kind of figures that will have you sleeping soundly.
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