Small Business Lead Generation - from
Customers or Prospects?
The tremendous penetration of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Solutions
in today's Large Account market, and ongoing battle for market share in the
Mid-size market, has left the SB (Small Business) market wondering when they
will get some attention. They do have Contact Management solutions, but
those don't help create more opportunities to sell. We're defining the SB
market as companies with up to 100 employees.
To date, many SB's can't afford a CRM solution. Customizations, time
required, limited resources, and lack of sales and marketing processes are just
some other reasons CRM has not significantly penetrated SB's.
Recently, signs show that vendors are beginning to pay attention to the up to
20 million small businesses in the U.S.
What is the value of a CRM solution for a small business? Most CRM
implementations are based upon the need for improved relationships with your
customers to serve them better, keep them longer, and sell them more. Is
that important for a small business? Yes, but it is not as challenging
for them because small businesses have relatively few customers.
They do have real trouble acquiring new customers. New business
development is the most critical success factor for SB's aside from sufficient
working capital. Our surveys of hundreds of SB's show what their
priorities are: lead generation; market awareness; and lead
So what is the challenge? Statistics show that it takes 6-7 contacts per
year per decision-maker to create and maintain awareness. Across all
industries, 80% of new sales require 8-15 contacts before they are
interested. But the average salesperson abandons after 1-2
attempts. Don't blame the salesperson. They cannot manage many
accounts of that type because they have a quota to make this month. They
must focus on companies who are interested now. Perhaps we can appreciate
why a 1% marketing response in today's environment is considered average.
It takes a lot of contacting.
Most small businesses average 7% market awareness. So 93% of their market
is not ready to buy from them. After all, the first requirement to make a
sale is that the prospect must know who you are and what you do. It's
scary for many SB's to realize that typically only 150 companies represent
their revenue universe, not 2,000. (Customers + prospects + others who
know you, out of a target market of 2,000 companies).
Marketing research shows that over 50% of leads from marketing activities buy
from someone, but take 6-18 months to close. What sales person can invest
much time with prospects in that situation? So, lead management is a
problem as well since many long-term opportunities are missed.
What salesperson can consistently devote enough time to cold-calling? It
is becoming more difficult each year with new laws and technology that inhibit
calls, time allocation and motivation issues, and new competitors all pounding
away at decision-makers.
What methods are available then? There are cost-effective ways to address
these issues. Manually, you can create a series of ongoing marketing
letters or postcards, and outsource the fulfillment to your printer.
If you research some of the CRM online or Enterprise solutions for small
businesses, you can find a few that include e-Marketing and are affordable and
easy enough to manage in-house, or with the help of a Reseller. Or you
can find e-mail marketing software products that provide HTML templates for
marketing message content creation and e-mail delivery.
Just make sure you know what your priority is, customer marketing or new
business development. The answer determines what solutions are
viable. If it is customer base marketing, the HTML-template driven
solutions are great for communicating email newsletters, surveys, etc. to
customers and prospects who already know you. Since you are already in
their address book, these campaigns will not get filtered out as much.
Industry averages show about 20% of these campaign emails were opened last
However, if you are looking for new business leads from people who do not know
you, the more HTML in the email, the more likely it will be filtered out.
Of course, you also have the significant problem of sourcing an opt-in email
database list and determining how to provide resource time to continually
create content and conduct at least monthly email campaigns. These are
the challenges that lead companies to utilize eProspector. Our HTML
content is so minimal that it is typically below the HTML point scale for email
filtering, and the message creation and delivery process is totally automated
so no resource is required. Our averages show a similar 20% average open
percentage from campaigns, but it is all the more impressive because it results
from people who do not know you.
Please see our product demonstration section on our web site for an overview, or
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.