Converting a Lead to Revenue Stream- A 10 Step Guide
Have you ever been on a fishing trip? Remember the last time you went fishing, a considerably big fish bit your bait but still you couldn’t roll it in just because you didn’t take the right steps at the right moment? Well, this feeling of frustration is universal and goes way beyond the simple analogy of catching a big fish and is equally relevant in every business scenario.
In today’s world of cut throat competition when only 25% of the sales leads are legitimate and are ready to be taken forward in the sales pipeline, reacting at the right moment and grabbing the right lead and converting it into a revenue stream is the need of the hour. 79% of the leads never convert to a revenue stream further strengthening the fact that nurturing of leads is of utmost importance. However, the initiatives taken by companies for lead nurturing are not that encouraging. Research shows that only 9% of the B2B companies engage in lead nurturing activities on a daily basis. As a result, the un-nurtured 91% stay in the group of those 53% of the organizations who lose on large purchases owing to their reluctance for nurturing a lead.
This article will take you through 10 steps of how to take a lead to a sales pipeline and be among the 35-50% of the companies which respond first to a lead and grab the big fishes.
Step 1: Inquiry Generation
Involves generating a call-to-action; that may involve inquiry via e-mail, a phone call or simply a click. It begins with reaching out to prospects using direct marketing methods. Use of a key message that summarizes the core benefits of a product helps keep the communication clear and lucid. Fast response to inquiries would lead to greater conversion rates.
Step 2: Response Planning and Response Capture
Even though, in this day and age of super fast communication systems, nearly 50% inquiries go unanswered in any B2B business. This demonstrates the loss a firm suffers in terms of opportunities just because this process is perhaps the most neglected area. However, a pre-emptive approach towards planning arrests the loss of opportunities as well as helps in analysis at a later stage.
Step 3: Inquiry Fulfillment and Inquiry Qualification
Around 50% of the consumers are not satisfied with the responses to their inquiry and 15% of customers who do not get their inquiry or problem resolved are likely to go to your competitors. Many inquiries seek additional information, which should be provided in a clear and crisp manner. Thereafter, leads need to be examined against set qualification criteria as per the marketing and sales team.
Step 4: Lead Nurturing
Despite showing a 35% lift in lead generation ROI, 65% of the B2B marketers do not have a concrete lead nurturing campaign. An average of 27% of the leads will be qualified to the point where they are ready and willing to engage with Sales. The remaining 73% are not there yet they need to be nurtured. At this stage, a series of regular communications happen, which aim towards building trust and awareness.
Step 5: Lead Tracking
Every process requires an evaluation criterion. In order to track the conversion rate a count of number of qualified leads versus the final conversions needs to be documented. This would then act as the basis on which our marketing campaign could be improvised upon.
Step 6: Lead Sorting and Follow Up
In this stage, the qualified leads get sorted and depending upon their importance, size and domain, get handed over to different sales teams. In today’s scenario, where information is just a click away, sales person’s role becomes even more important. It has been noticed that 80% of potential sales are lost due to lack of follow-up. A whopping 68% of B2B organizations have not identified their funnel.
Step 7: Clarification
Before a deal is finalized, customers raise many objections and concerns regarding the quality, performance, price etc of the product. This phase is very crucial as it decides whether the final sale would occur or not. So, it’s important to clear customers’ doubts and ensure closure of deal because any delay now can lead to company’s loss.
Step 8: Negotiation
According to a statistic, 10-15% of the sales are lost at the negotiation stage. So, it is very important for the salesperson to be prepared beforehand with all the possible objections the customer may have. Prior preparations may help mitigate the damage a long way.
Step 9: Sales Closure
The sales team should ensure a hassle free sales closure. All the terms and conditions should be clearly explained to prevent any issues in future. The entire experience of buying should be customer friendly to build long term customer relationships. It also helps in building a good reputation in the industry.
Step 10: After Sales Service
After sales service is clearly a very important part of maintaining continued revenue flow into your organization. For an example, in a high-tech industry, firms manage to grow successfully despite economic downturn by developing their after-sales services. In B2B, after-sales can generate three to four times the turnover of the original purchase during the solution’s lifecycle.