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!!!

Nurturing leads

B2B, lead generation, Marketing, Sales

When you are capturing leads or getting opt-ins, you need to be patient with them. Like nurturing a seed, it takes time for the plant to come out, so it is with leads.

Most leads in the B2B space could take weeks if not months, to mature, to a stage that they actually give you a requirement. During this stage you need to keep following-up with your prospect, educating them and being top of the mind so that when they have a requirement, they reach out to you. While marketing nurtures a large universe, the moment they get a lead to qualify, they hand it over to sales.

Now most sales people only follow-up for 3-4 times and then don’t bother because they want leads which can help them meet their quarterly targets. Most of them are always behind targets because they don’t nurture the leads which can help meet the quota two quarters down the line.

As the value of the orders increase the amount of lead time goes up even further. For a million dollar kind of deal, we have had to even keep nurturing the prospect for around a year.

Due to the complexity of the corporate environment, by the time a requirement is recognised and then budgeted and then a RFP raised, its quite easily a 6-8 month cycle.For a B2B process, for high value kind of business, I would advice nurturing a lead for upto 18 months at least before discarding them.

Different companies have different priorities, so its like a moving parade, some may take longer and some may immediately feel the need for your kind of service. So after a lead comes in, you need to be patiently educating them and nurturing them. You need to look at them as assets which will give returns over a long period of time.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!