The Value of a Lead

B2B, follow-up, lead generation, life time value, Marketing, Risks, Trust

Have you analysed the time it takes for someone who enquires something that you offer and eventually buys. And what is the Life Time Value of a client.

Not all leads will buy anything at all, some will buy, but not buy from you. But those who do buy from you, do you have an estimate of the amount of time it could take at an extreme for a lead to close.

About 10 – 12 years back, there was an MNC , who was into selling CPU chips, had come to us. Their sales team had a clear mandate from their management, if a lead was not closed in 3 months, it had to be pulled out of the funnel and dropped. Like us, they were also dealing in B2B.

Since we deal in considerably large value deals, it sometimes takes us even 24 months of effort to keep the lead live, to eventually come to us.

The timeline is an important aspect in deciding when a lead needs to be stopped from being targeted. One argument is never. To a certain degree, I agree with this argument. At the other extreme is an argument that if someone doesn’t buy in 3-6 months, then they will not buy. With companies running their sales and revenue targets from one quarter to another following a lead for more than 6 months is tough, because after 6 months the sales person may change.

Generating a lead is tough enough and losing it because you have an ad-hoc timeline to decide when to dump a lead can be devastating for the business. Depending on the kind of offerings you have, the more expensive the offering, the more people take time to think through their decision because, in the B2B segment, people can’t afford to Not Have Things Work. And because they still don’t trust you or the technology, they don’t want to take a decision. That’s where all the inertia and indecision comes-up.

You need to patiently nurture leads by educating them and motivating them to try you out (if they are engaging you for the first time) by doing POCs ( if its a complex technology) and eliminate all the possible risk from the buyer.

Once you have analysed the timeline of closing leads, then they will become an asset which will I’ve you annuity kind of business.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Single Target Market and the Life Time Value

B2B, life time value, Marketing, Product Management, single target market

I came across the concept of the Life Time Value from Jay Abraham while reading his book, Getting All You Want from All You Have. It was a very intriguing book name and I couldn’t end up not buying it. Since then I have read it multiple times to find new ideas and ways of thinking.

The Single Target Market concept,  I have learnt primarily from Dean Jackson. The advantage of this concept is that you can get to focus all your energies on just one segment of the market at a time and then Dominate it, before moving forward to the next Market.

Each entrepreneur,  product manager, marketing manager has multiple markets, that they can focus on and it is counter intuitive to focus on only one.

The reason I keep coming back to discuss on the single target market time and again is because I  use it myself and find new applications for it when analyzing different businesses.

A good way to analyse the relative economic values of each market and then choose the one which is the most lucrative. So if you knew what’s the life time value of a  customer and you knew that you had the potential to pick up at least 30% of the market then you could take a call on how you could go about investing.

So let’s take a B2B example where the Life Time Value of a customer is say $100000/- at a Gross Margin of 30%. Now let’s  assume that there are a total of 1000 potential customers in the segment you have chosen. The bottom 20% will never buy from you.  That leaves about 800 prospects.  Out of these 800 some are in pain right now, some will get into the pain stages over the next 5 years.

So your potential market yield could be $80million over 5 years or a gross margin of $24million. If you can earn $24 million what would you be willing to spend to get these customers. If on the other hand the other market segment can only do $80000 LTV per customer at a GM of 25% then the potential yield of this market is $64 million at a GM of $16 million.  So how much can you now spend to get the $16 million.

So that is the combination to help you choose which is the most promising market for you to enter.

If you have any queries, please raise them in the comments section. I would love to hear them.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

P.S: If you are interested in getting a free copy of my “7 point checklist for B2B markets”, you can ask for it, by filling in your details below.

Marketing Stamina – Revisited

B2B, life time value, Marketing, Marketing Stamina, persistence

On the 28th of October last year I had put up a post on this topic. If you are interested, you can have a look at it here .

The reason I felt a need to revisit this topic, came up because, I was analysing the average time it takes to get traction for a new product or service in the B2B market. If you are in the technology market space I would highly recommend you read the book Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. It will give you a more detailed context to what I am talking.

However coming back to the B2B market – the key issue that needs to handled is corporate inertia. In most cases the people in these companies are fighting so many battles, that they don’t want to touch anything that’s not broken. Also because there’s so many approvals involved, they don’t want to risk the product / solution Not Working in their environment. Especially in case of technology solutions, most companies prefer to work with “n-1” technology because it’s stable and working. They don’t want one more fire in their hand.

The other thing which plays a role in my opinion, is that the customer wants to see your resilience. They don’t trust anyone approaching them new, for the same points as I listed above and in most cases they are already covered with an existing vendor who is providing decently good service. So until and unless the incumbent screws up some time soon, they won’t look at you.

So does it mean that you can’t get into business for the B2B segment.

You absolutely can, if you can plan for the long term. You ensure that you have enough persistence and finances to last you for a long duration. While I learnt the term marketing stamina from Dean Graziosi, I learnt the application of this idea through Dean Jackson. His thought process is like this – if you know the turnover rate of any market – say 5% – 10% of the people will change to a new vendor every year – and you have a focussed list of 1000 prospects then over the next 5 years at least 250 – 500 prospects.

Now depending on what you sell and what is the Life Time Value of a client, you will need to have the staying power to last through the 5 years with consistently reaching out to these customers. If you don’t plan for this, you will be in for a rude shock and you will do things out of desperation, which is never a good thing.

Till next time then ….build your marketing stamina before getting into a new market.

Carpe Diem!!!

Budgeting for marketing activities

budget, life time value, Marketing

If there’s something successful about your model to regularly get clients, why would you ever want to limit your spending in marketing. Budgeting is effectively putting limits on what you are allowed to spend.

In case you are an entrepreneur and have your business, then the above argument would hold.

However when you work in a corporate setup, then every department gets allocated money because there are a lot of interdependent activities involved.

So if you work in a corporate environment or advise people in a corporate environment then below is my quick and dirty method of calculating what you may want to demand for your activities.

It starts with identifying what is the average life time value of a client for you. Do you have clients who give you recurring revenue or one time. Do you have repeat business possibilities including up-sell, maintenance charges etc. Put all of this together.

You can do this on a simple calculator and napkin.

Let’s assume you realize that your average lifetime value in revenue is $100000 over a period of 5 years and you would make gross 25% margin, then any new client has a potential to averagely give you a gross margin of $25000/- over the life of the customer or $5000 per year over 5 years.

To keep things simple I have not accounted for the referrals some of the customers may give you or additional activities during the term of the order.

So now we look at the first year – gross margin as $5000. This is the figure we will need to work on.

So suppose you were to be willing to forsake $5000/- to get a customer, you would be assured of getting a profit of $20000 over the next four years. If you have capacity then any additional business will not increase costs substantially. If you don’t have capacity then, this is not necessarily a good idea.

But for argument let’s say you have capacity, but you may still incur incidental costs of $2500. You still have $2500 you can happily spend to earn $20000 over the next 4 years.

The next item to look at is – what is the available capacity in your factory/delivery. So if your factory can deliver 10 more projects over the next 5 years, then you have to get 10 new customers for the factory.

So now you have a simple budget $2500×10 customers equals $25000/- to get an additional revenue of $1 Million (10 customers *$100000/customer)

So you need to now plan how you will spend the $25000/- such that you can ensure 10 customers come your way to your finance.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!