Businesses spend billions to attract ready buyers, generating a vast number of leads. Despite this, research shows that sales reps typically do a poor job of managing their leads, at the expense of their company’s revenue potential. Companies eventually alleviate the chaos by implementing a system to effectively manage their pipeline. But before this happens, how do you know if you’ve just had a rough month or if you’re in the eye of a storm?
Below are some of the top sales lead management mishaps that might be holding you back. If you’re experiencing any of these regularly, you might want to make some adjustments to stop the bleeding.
1) New sales leads are not even being contacted.
If you have ever pulled a sales report and found new leads were going uncontacted, you know you’re leaving money on the table. It’s important for reps to follow up promptly on all qualified leads and do so with the appropriate persistence. There is no reason for leads to ever go uncontacted; but without follow-up, leads can easily be lost to a competitor.
A recent study revealed that 33% of inbound leads didn’t even receive a single follow-up call! Make sure your reps are actually following up appropriately so that you can get more “R” out of your ROI.
2) Your sales team isn’t responding to leads fast enough.
Research continues to show that most organizations take more than 24 hours to follow up with a new lead. If that’s you, your competition is likely eating your lunch. Surveys show that the first sales organization to respond has a definitive advantage with the buyer, so why not boost revenue by making sure that your team gets there first? Following up within a minute of receiving a lead can increase conversion by up to 5x.
3) Sales rep follow-up practices are incredibly inconsistent.
If you’re like many sales organizations, you have a lead follow-up policy in place—one designed to yield optimal results and shorten the distance from lead to conversion. But creating a lead experience that converts is one thing, and enforcing the strategy across your organization is another.
When it comes to best practice, making 5-7 contact attempts are proven to drive more revenue. However, research shows 91% of leads don’t receive an optimal number of calls. Most sales reps make just 1-2 contact attempts on a new lead before giving up. Make sure your sales lead management process is consistent so you can get the most out of each lead.
4) Too much of your sales team’s time is wasted on the wrong stuff.
Research from Forrester and IDC has found that many reps spend more than half their day on non-selling activities. The reality is, your reps are faced with hundreds of daily activities, and struggle to efficiently prioritize their work. And most CRM solutions don’t help much with all the different screens, lists, clicks and procedures required to get from point A to B. In an ideal world, you’d like to see your reps continuously taking action on the highest priority items throughout the day, without having to remind or instruct them.
If reps aren’t hitting their quota, take a look at their daily process. Are they juggling multiple screens? Are they trying to figure out the next best action to take? They might just need a little guidance on prioritizing their pipelines so they can focus on reaching more prospects and spend more time selling.
If you’re like a majority of professional selling organizations, you watch your opportunity pipeline and win rate like a hawk and are ready to pounce on any abnormality that surfaces. But what about the process that occurs before a lead converts to an opportunity? Most organizations treat the processes in the lead-to-opportunity stage too informally, and rely too heavily on assumptions and rep discretion for conversion. As a result, their teams are missing a lot of revenue. If you’re seeing any of the above sales lead management mishaps in your organization, it’s hurting your bottom line.
Consider that just a 20% increase in lead-to-opportunity conversion can translate to millions of dollars in additional sales for some organizations. Tighten up selling practices throughout your entire sales process to increase opportunities from your leads and take both your pipeline and revenue to new heights.
About the author: Joshua Pittman is the Vice President of Inside Sales at Velocify. A seasoned Inside Sales expert with over 10 years of experience, Joshua specializes in architecting, growing and leading sales organizations within the technology space. He has built numerous high performing teams throughout the country; most recently designing and executing the sales growth plan of California-based startup, Cargomatic. Joshua also architected and implemented the sales structure and growth plan at Minneapolis based Sport Ngin, a leader in the emerging sports technology space. During his 4-year tenure at the high growth Washington DC social commerce startup Livingsocial, he built out an industry leading 100+ rep Inside Sales team while driving numerous successful pilot initiatives. Joshua studied at Anoka Ramsey in Minneapolis with a focus on business management and administration.