50 to 80 percent of all leads are potentially wasted if not managed properly. Industry surveys indicate that only 10 to 25 percent of all leads are interested and ready to buy. A similar percentage of leads are not qualified at all. The problem is how do you get those leads from a “blind date” to happily “married with children”?
There has always been great debate over the quality of leads that many marketing departments generate. Sales would tell you that the quality of the leads they get from marketing are worthless while Marketing would say that Sales does not follow up correctly or soon enough. The growth of the Internet has increased the friction between the two partners. Yep, it’s not at all uncommon for sales and marketing departments to not get along all that well. Unfortunately, when it comes to profits, the gap between sales and marketing is no laughing matter. One way companies can bring Sales and Marketing together is through a unified lead scoring process. Companies that get lead scoring right have a 192% higher than average lead qualification rate than those that do not. (Abredeen Research)
It drives me nuts every time I hear a traditional marketing agency claim to be a “demand generation agency”. Especially when most of them barley have the skills to use the technology, let alone the expertise. It takes a considerable amount of time to acquire the experiential knowledge and subject matter expertise to facilitate the full demand generation transformation.
As competition continues to heat up in various markets, more companies are relying on demand-generation engines to drive their pipeline performance. In order to build a demand-generation process that runs efficiently and powerfully, a clean and accurate database is becoming fundamental for success. The problem is many companies’ sales and marketing databases resemble Christina Aguilera – a la her song “Dirty” - than they do the wholesome image of Taylor Swift.
Social media is changing the way our customers buy and the way in which we engage them. Before customers even see us for the first time, they have a great deal of information—not necessarily knowledge—about our company, our products, and our competition. A Customers’ abilities to independently discover and broadcast information across a variety of social networking platforms has in turn diminished the longstanding sales person’s ability to influence and control the way products, solutions, and services are perceived by their prospects. Prospects now have greater access to company and product data – including peer reviews and referrals – compared to any other time in history. If salespeople are to continue providing solutions to their customers, selling must evolve in lockstep with buying.
Let’s face it, nobody wants to be sold. When someone feels that they have been “sold”, they feel that they have purchased something they maybe really didn’t want. When was the last time you heard the phone ring and said to yourself, “Man, I hope that’s a salesman, because I really want to be sold something right now”? Really, when was the last time you answered an unidentified or unknown call at work, only to hear some pushy sales rep fumbled through a long boring script, let alone take the time to listen? Well, why do you think your prospects would want to? That is why most prospects avoid your salespeople until the last possible minute. Instead, they educate themselves by accessing publicly available information and connect with peers online until they’ve narrowed down their options. In fact, SiriusDecisions estimates that the buyer’s journey is 70% complete by the time they contact a sales person.
While being on this list may not get you groupies, drugs and million dollar record deals, it does get you book deals, millions of followers and immortality (well maybe at least digitally). Just like how a Rock Star needs to have charisma, talent, and authenticity, in order to be a Social Rock Star, you need to be a triple threat as well. You cannot be a one hit wonder, or a mere hack spamming the internet with useless garbage.
It is well known that most purchasers start their online purchase process with a query of a search engine. New research from GroupM and comScore reveals that 48% of consumers who started with a search engine search for products and subsequently purchased, are taking a social activity as a next step in the buying process. Their findings also reveal that when consumers are exposed to both search and social media by a brand, that overall search click-through rate went up by 94%. This clearly demonstrates that search and social media are powerful channels individually, but in combination they create huge opportunities for companies to gain the edge on their competitors.
One of the biggest questions I get is how exactly does a company develop a social media strategy that drives business results? Recently, I have seen a huge influx of companies getting into social media marketing; they setup up all their accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and just expect the leads to just come pouring in. Unlike Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, that just does not work. It’s no wonder that only 12% of executives say that their companies are using social media effectively (Havard Business Review Analytic Services Study)
The attraction of huge numbers of customers from collective buying sites, such as Groupon, can be hard to resist for most small businesses. By offering incredible discounts that are greater than half-off the original price, these sites offer the potential to generate hundreds to tens of thousands of sales from new customers within a single day. But is it a good idea for your business?
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