Increasing Sales Performance Demands
that Lead Generation Optimization be Top of Mind
CSO INSIGHTS asked the 1275 participating from in its most recent sales
performance study. to share with us what specific initiatives they were putting
in place this year to improve sales effectiveness. The figure shows a summary
of their responses.
It is a fact that companies are considering a lot of different choices,
including sales training, channel management and sales knowledge management.
But at the top of the list, cited by 44 percent of the firms surveyed as one of
their top three priorities, is optimizing lead generation programs. So, the
highest focus for sales organization is not on just closing what is in sales
funnel, but also trying to improve performance above the sales funnel-by
generating more, better-quality leads.
What do companies mean when they say they want to optimize lead generation
programs? I recently presented to a group of 45 sales and marketing executives
at a three-day summit sponsored by the American Marketing Association and
Rollins College. In posting that question to attendees, the
input we received was that lead generation optimization is not one single thing
The first objective is to identify the prospects with the highest likely need
for the firm's products and to then develop targeted messaging to help inform
and educate prospects on what the company has to offer. An enterprise delivers
those messages via a variety of methods: direct marketing, digital marketing,
et cetera. If the prospect is ready to act, the needs to be quickly routed to
the right sales resource.
Second, if the prospect is interested but not ready to act, the lead needs to be
placed into a formal lead nurturing program to cultivate the prospect's
interest until the time is right for the buyer to consider the vendor's
Finally, throughout the life cycle of an opportunity the disposition of all
leads needs to be tracked so that intelligent decisions can be made regarding
what messages and marketing programs are the most effective and which are not.
The task can be complex-to successfully optimize lead generation programs,
companies will need to blend business process design, target-marketing
methodology innovations, demand generation and CRM technology, and improved
program performance analytics. It's no small undertaking, and sales and
marketing executives may well wonder if the investment of time, resources and
money is worth it.
To help answer that question we compared a series of key sales performance
metrics of companies that excelled in lead generation optimization against the
rest of the firms surveyed. The numbers are compelling
Reps making quota are 9.3 percent higher.
Conversion rates of leads to first calls show an improvement of 16.5 percent.
Win rates rise by 7 percent.
Ramp-up times for new sales people decrees by over 10 percent.
Our recommendation to firms looking to turbo charge sales-based on these
numbers-is to turbo charge lead generation. The CRM technologies are in place
today to achieve this goal and the ROI is there to justify it.