Less is more – how quality wins over quantity every time when it comes to leads in your sales pipeline
How would you feel if I told you that I would half the leads in your pipeline – and you’d thank me for it?
At best, you may cast a wary glance at me and move on.
At worst you may get colleagues to form a protective circle around your sales pipeline and glare menacingly as you proclaim, ‘No-one touches one single lead in my pipeline.’
OK. OK. Calm down. I want to show you something.
Here’s the average B2B lead to close rate:
Consider just how much time must be wasted nurturing, chasing, emailing, entertaining, pitching to and finally pleading with those 94% of leads who never go anywhere.
Alright, theoretically move just a fraction of this time to handling opportunities that will go somewhere.
And now recalculate your likely ROI, conversion rate and potential quarterly bonus.
Are you sure you wouldn’t like a little careful pruning of that pipeline?
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Buyer Intent: forget Big Data, get Big Understanding
Jay Baer once commented that, ‘The future of marketing isn’t big data, it’s big understanding.’
Which is to say that, where data is concerned, quality wins over quantity.
Or less noise, more conversation.
In many ways, this means more targeting and less scatter gunning.
And one way you can drill down into your potential prospects is to gain an understanding of buyer intent.
Let’s avoid big words and complicated explanations.
Buyer intent data can be simply, but accurately, described as something that gives you insight into which companies are consuming content based on key terms for your products/services.
Buyer intent data reveals which companies are truly in-market.
How can buyer intent data be best used?
The strategy for sales that best suits buyer intent data is account-based marketing (ABM).
And ABM is the sales strategy that truly embodies less is more. It focusses on a small number of high-value accounts to unite sales and marketing efforts, deliver personalised messaging and to jettison all that time wasted chasing unproductive leads from barely interested companies.
Buyer intent data can be effectively used to decide which accounts to focus on.
Critically the aim here is not to put in that first sales call as soon as buyer intent shows up on the radar.
Far from it.
Instead, multiple marketing channels are used to secure more engagement in and to demonstrate that your solution is engaged in the same sorts of conversations and focussed on the same set of concerns as your prospects.
The less leads leap of faith
Simply quoting Demandbase’s stat is not going to convince those around you.
But I will quote it:
‘Businesses implementing ABM tactics have found lead-to-close rates improve by an average of 75%’. (Source)
The real issue is that it takes a leap of faith to stop focussing just on keeping our sales pipelines as crammed full as possible.
As we’ve already found, adopting a mindset that having less leads will bring in more (and more profitable) revenue is a big ask.
But here’s two more stats – and, after that, it is a leap of faith.
97% of marketers who use ABM say it generates higher ROI compared to other marketing strategies. [Source]
Interestingly, this remains true even though most note that sales cycle length does significantly increase with ABM.
Companies utilising ABM report a 74% improvement in customer relationships. (Source)
The success of ABM rests on a personalised sales approach. There are no blanket emails, just one-to-one engagements. And this leads to much more positive interactions and much more sense of satisfaction after the sale.
What’s more, that buyer intent data continues to be useful for identifying when accounts may be searching for something you can upsell them to or for competitors because there is a problem you need to fix.
Over to you.
Will less be more? Will you focus on identifying quality leads and leaving the rest?