The results of this survey show us that the best way to sharpen marketing efficiency and enhance the sales process is for companies to invest in resources, either internally or externally, that are dedicated to timely and personalized lead follow-up
Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) May 24, 2005 -
ranked technology solutions content and search site, today announced results from an intensive benchmarking study into best practices for pursuing online leads. KnowledgeStorm partnered with The Artemis Group, a leading data analytics consulting firm, to conduct this research and analyze the results.
For this research, over 1000 enterprise technology buyers were contacted by phone in response to their online opt-in research on KnowledgeStorm. Of these sales leads, 80% were "happy" or "positive" about being contacted by the vendors who they had opted-in with. That percentage rose to 88% when respondents were personally called the same day as their online opt-in.
Buyers are generally quite pleased to hear from vendors, but this research shows that receptiveness rapidly declines over time. Four days after a lead was generated, only 70% of the leads were happy to hear from a sales person. The conclusion: leads get cold quickly, so it is vital that vendors implement prompt, effective lead follow-up processes.
Most opt-in leads were found to have valid contact information, and more than 46% of those leads were reached live on the phone. Most live conversations occurred within the first two attempts to call the lead. Research confirms that the likelihood of reaching someone after the second call drops significantly.
"A major focus of any organization should be to discover what happens internally during the follow-up and lead qualification process of the sales cycle," notes Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, an elite affinity group of chief marketing executives in the high technology industry. "Lead qualification, the middle step between lead generation by the marketing department and lead distribution to the sales department, is too frequently a murky area for companies, in which neither the sales nor the marketing department claims ownership."
Experts believe that the percentage of leads that "fall through the cracks" ranges from 40% to 80%. SiriusDecisions, a marketing industry analyst group, recently stated that "as many as 90% of leads are not followed up on by field sales." A key culprit behind this waste of corporate assets is poor processes for handling leads and assessing their value. KnowledgeStorm and The Artemis Group have found that personal contact is more effective in qualifying leads than automated lead assessment or predictive lead filtering systems. When a real person engages the buyer in a personal dialogue, the resulting qualified leads are dramatically more reliable than leads scored without personal contact.
"The results of this survey show us that the best way to sharpen marketing efficiency and enhance the sales process is for companies to invest in resources, either internally or externally, that are dedicated to timely and personalized lead follow-up," says Jeff Ramminger, executive vice president at KnowledgeStorm. "ItÂs a full-time job requiring people with specialized skills.
"The more a lead assessment team learns about the prospect before turning the lead over to the sales force, the higher the payoff will be. We find that dedicated lead assessment teams will respond sooner, will respond to more leads, will gather better information and will do all of these at a lower per-lead cost than the sales reps. A proactive strategy for timely lead assessment is a key ingredient in leveraging your lead generation investments."
According to Neale-May, the CMO Council fielded an online survey last year, entitled "Gauging the Cost of What's Lost," which reinforced the findings of the KnowledgeStorm research initiative. The study suggests that while companies may be good at generating large volumes of business leads, most prospects languish because the sales organization is too frequently focused on only closing the most promising and qualified short-term opportunities. Nearly three-quarters of the 800 CMO Council survey respondents said they could increase revenue at least 10% with better business development practices; 37% say they could increase the top line by more than 20%.
A high-level summary of this research is available in the KnowledgeNote: The Fine Art of Lead Follow-Up.
About The Artemis Group
The Artemis Group is a marketing research and management consulting firm that uses the latest research methods and in-depth analytical and technical skills. The group includes advanced degrees in many different research disciplines: statistics, mathematics, computer science, social psychology, and cognitive psychology. The Artemis Group's strong affiliation with the research community is reflected in their publications and numerous invited lectures and workshops. In addition, The Artemis Group includes a network of business partners across data collection firms, academicians, and boutique research companies that offer more specialized services (e.g., web application developers, conjoint specialists, and Bayesian experts). For more information about The Artemis Group, visit: http://www.theartemisgroup.com/index.htm.
Founded in 1998, KnowledgeStorm is the Internet's top-ranked technology solutions content and search site. With the largest online index of IT solutions, KnowledgeStorm offers technology buyers a free, easy and comprehensive means to match business requirements to a "short list" of technology providers and to stay current on technology topics and trends. This information is available through the KnowledgeStorm Network, which includes http://www.knowledgestorm.com, specialty search sites and syndication partners. Technology vendors use KnowledgeStorm's efficient, effective lead generation services to fill sales pipelines with motivated and educated buyers. For more information, visit http://www.knowledgestorm.com.
KnowledgeStorm and the KnowledgeStorm logo are trademarks of KnowledgeStorm, Inc.
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