Why It Takes 7-13+ Touches to Generate a Qualified B2B Sales Lead Today
Why It Takes 7-13+ Touches to Generate a
Qualified B2B Sales Lead Today
Laurie Beasley, President
Beasley Direct Marketing, Inc.
Tom Judge, VP Strategy
Direct Marketing Partners, Inc.
Laurie Beasley – President Beasley Direct Marketing
President DMA Northern California www.dmanc.org
Instructor UC Berkeley Extension www.extension.berkeley.edu
Instructor Online Marketing Institute www.onlinemarketinginstitute.org
Tom Judge – VP Strategy Direct Marketing Partners (DMP)
Vice President DMA Northern California
Contributor Sales Lead Management Association
Program Chair NorCal BMA Sales Lead Roundtable www.norcalbma.org
Why So Many Touches?
Its not easy generating the “sales-ready” leads
The Goal of Demand Generation is Sales!
However there are some bumps in the road…
The CSO Insights annual survey uncovered problems
The average number of reps making quota was 63% for 2012
Only 42% of firms met or exceeded their 2012 revenue goals
CSO Insights indicated that 92% of firms are raising their
revenue goals this year
Over 40% of firms indicate the increases are 15% or more!
Challenge: Quality Over Quantity
Marketing Sherpa’s 2012 B2B Benchmark report
explored what marketers are actually doing
73% of the leads distributed to sales ARE NOT Sales-Ready!
Solution Case Cited:
In the same report; Marketing Sherpa cited a case of a
firm that moved to higher quality “sales-ready” scored
leads (A B2B HR solutions company)
The lead volume dropped by 52%
While revenues increased 41%
1. Marketing generates a lead with basic interest, not ready to engage a sales rep
2. Sales teams reject unqualified leads, feels disconnected, requests “sales-ready” leads
3. Few actually convert and the numbers are unsustainable
Current marketing focus Current sales focusThe B2B lead
Issue 1: Marketing hands off
Leads too early. Unqualified
Leads waste sales’ time.
Issue 2: Sales cherry picks leads, letting
longer-time-frame leads leak out.Issue 3: Marketing spends
More $ to replace lost leads.
Reach Interest Desire Convert Enrich Retain
Warm leads leak out
Gap in The Middle of the Funnel is
Costing Time & $ Money
Source: Forrester October 2006, Best Practices “Improving B2B Lead Mgmt”
Forrester: Low Quality Sales Leads Create
Symptoms: Few conversions into customers
The increased reliance on higher sales lead quality from
the sales teams has changed the game for demand gen
You as a marketer are now on the hook to deliver
This is the new norm
Tension Between Sales & Marketing
Challenge: How Can We Improve Our
Here are some best practices and multi-touch cases
that improve lead quality
Example of a 7-13+ Touch Sequence?
1: Initial email campaign
2: Initial direct mail campaign
3: Call, prospect not there, leave a message
4: Send email follow up
5: Call, prospect is not involved in any way, referred to correct contact
6: Start over, transfer the call into person you’re referred to, leave VM
7: Send email follow up: first email
8: Call, prospect not able to talk then, but did schedule another time
9: Send email follow up confirming call appt. day/time
10: Call held, prospect interested, however wants more information
before all the qualification questions on script are completed
11: Send personalized email follow up with relevant info.
12: Prospect now ready to talk about needs, access to budget,
purchase authority, level of urgency and timeframe= Qualified!
13: Email to confirm appt. scheduled with field sales rep, CC rep.
Value of Nurture Process
Contact # 1
Contact # 2
Contact # 3
Contact # 4
Contact # 5
Contact # 6
Contact # 7
Contact # 8
Contact # 9
Contact # 10
Contact # 11
Contact # 12
50% of sales people have given up
65% of sales people have given up
89% of sales people have given up
Just now you are becoming a factor in your
Nurturing slowly, your prospect
gets to know you
You are probably the only
person to make 8 contacts
with this person
79% of sales people have given up
earning top of
At this point when you
prospect is ready to
buy, you have a 90%
chance of being called
Reality: Wow, 13+ Touches is A LOT!
How do we shorten it?
We'll outline 11 ways to shorten the process and improve
Then we'll share 2 use cases and their results.
Start with the end in mind:
• Review historic sales data
• Segment by customer types
• Review profitability data
• Know the buying process
• Build buyer Personas & relevant messaging
Assess your TAM:
• Review the resources it will take to acquire
1. Plan - Start With the End in Mind
Create a “Perfect Prospect Profile”
Digital/Online data points:
• Digital profile, Segment
• Web content activity
• Trigger events
• Scoring & its limits
Non-Digital/Peer-to-peer data points AND relationship:
• Needs, Plans & Business pains
• Role in the buying process
• Access to funding
• Size of opportunity
• Time frame and sense of urgency
• Willingness to move forward and engage with sale rep?
2. Clearly define the “Sales-Ready Qualified Lead”
(which can blossom into your perfect customer)
Advanced Lead Rating & Scoring Criteria
Tip: Combine digital and BANT Plus
data points into your scoring
Sample of “BANT+ Sales-Ready” Lead Data
Detailed background information on the prospect and the
selling opportunity helps drive more productive sales results
Dispelling the Marketing Automation
“Solves it All” Myth
Sirius Decisions has now inserted Tele-qualification into this model to increase
the sales qualification information gathered to boost lead quality & conversions
Common Problems We See
With Overdependence on Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is dependent on lead forms
Lead form submit rates are declining
Difficult if not IMPOSSIBLE to get BANT+ criteria from
lead forms (even when using progressive profiling)
Result: “Sticky funnel conundrum”. Lots of unqualified leads
rattling around in the system
99% of your true prospects haven’t filled out a form or
come to your website. Many responders do not fit your
perfect prospect profile. You must monitor the profiles.
Action: You need to proactively outbound target the key account
contacts in your sweet spot with your value propositions
3. Quantify Your “Sales-Ready” Lead Quota
Sample Lead Requirements Calculator
ANNUAL SALES REVENUE GOALS: $13,000,000
Sales Revenue Goals/Quarter $3,250,000
Revenue per sale $115,000
# Closed Sales Required/QTR 28.3 Or 9.3 Closes/mo.
Estimated Closed Rate on Pipeline Proposal Opportunities 25%
# Qual Leads That Must Convert to Pipeline Proposals/QTR 113
Est. forward conversion rate from sales-ready lead into Pipeline 40%
# Qualified Sales -Ready Leads Required per
Quarter (Prospects meeting sales-ready criteria)
# Qualified Sales-Ready Leads Required per
Month (Prospects meeting sales-ready criteria)
TomJudge, All Rights Reserved, Copyright Protected
Gain agreements with
• Marketing’s lead quality and quantities
• Sales team follow up actions on each qualified lead
• Gain senior management agreement
Tip: Obtain sales or channel rep SLA sign offs that they will
engage sales-ready prospects and track in CRM
4. Align sales – marketing – and Management with
Sample of a basic
sales and marketing
• Marketing agrees to
quality of leads
• Sales agrees to follow
up steps and CRM
5. Target Prospect Data
Tip: Create a process to improve prospect data
Forrester reports that 37% of firms indicate this is a
significant marketing problem at their firm
Action item: Fix and standardize the prospect database
Hint: This is a never ending task
6. Segment Your Target Markets
Tip: Segment your target markets into smaller
more manageable target sub segments.
Don’t boil the ocean
Action item: Compare campaign performance by segment to
identify better performing markets to focus resources better
Common Segmentation for B2B
Single Product Segmentation Example - Business services with multiple decision
Small, Medium, Large
2x 3x 3x 4x = 72 Segments
7. Story Tell With Your Content
Tip: Sync up relevant content with personalized
messaging to tell your compelling story, differentiate
and establish your brand as one they want to put on
their short list
Action item: Review and revise your content and messaging to help
you “earn the right” to ask the tough qualification questions you need
gathered to qualify prospects
8. Offers DO Matter
Tip: Use a compelling offer with staying power.
Content can be your best offer
Action item: ALWAYS OFFER something of perceived value
Business to Business Offers & Content
ROI calculators 3 5 15
Whitepapers/ Guides 3 4 12
Case studies 4 3 12
“Relevant” giveaways 4 3 12
Video clips or demo 4 3 12
Webinars 2 5 10
Live events 1 5 5
Free giveaways 5 1 5
Tradeshows 2 2 4
9. Think B2B Relationships:
People Buy From People
Tip: To accelerate b2b prospect lead development,
include tele-qualification in the touch process
Action item: We suggest running a three-month A/B test using
email + tele-prospecting in the lead nurturing and qualification
process and measure the lift and ROI.
Tip: Warm Prospects First by Sending
an Email or Direct Mail Before Calling
You CAN do cold calling alone without sending a
campaign in advance. Lots of people do it. However,
their productivity may not be optimal.
We have found sending out an email and/or direct mail
before a campaign can make it 30-40% more productive,
and save in tele-prospecting expenses.
Why? Several reasons:
You can triangulate from an email or direct mail to draw the
prospect into the conversation.
If they’ve read the email or direct mail before you call, they’re
much more informed and can more clearly define their needs
You appear to have a more comprehensive offering
You allow more channels for prospects to communicate through
10. Track All Touch Metrics
Tip: Analyze KPI metrics in light of the original touch
plan & make refinements during campaigns
Action item: Analyze results metrics from end to end. Adjust
tactics to improve each metric along the way to a better outcome.
11. Put in Place Comprehensive Lead
Tip: Implement a lead mgmt. system & team that gives
you end-to-end visibility into all of your campaigns
Action item: Have the right talent and executive dashboard reporting
tools to manage your lead funnels and make revisions. Mgmt. wants this!
Putting it into Practice
Marketing is being required to generate more sales ready leads.
This isn’t easy to do. Marketing automation can’t make it happen
You’re going to have to plan for multiple touches and multiple
To shorten the process: have a comprehensive plan, targeted
lists, segmented messaging, good offers, great creative (email,
direct mail, etc), plan for personal touches (teleprospecting) and
track the metrics.
Now let’s see some real-world scenarios.
Case 1: Glove Corp.
VP of Sales read the DMP/Beasley Direct case study in
first chapter of this book, and voila! he called me.
• Leading industrial glove manufacturer
• Average value of new glove customer
• Target: safety/operations/purchasing
decision makers in metal manufacturing
• Goal: $2.5 million in incremental sales for
this product line
• Tried everything: PPC, email, tradeshows
• Couldn’t get enough “qualified” sales
opportunities coming in to hit their numbers
• What to do next?
Sales Funnel Needs
$2.5 million in sales/$50,000 per sale =
50 closed sales (@ 20% close rate)
You’d need 250 qualified sales
opportunities at proposal stage (25%
convert to proposal)
You’d need 1,000 “Qualified A” leads in
the sales team pipeline (10% convert
into “qualified A leads” and go to sales)
You’d need 10,000 marketing level leads
in the demand generation process
Could Email Alone Get Him There?
Let’s give him a hand…
• Let’s assume available list universe of
safety/operations people = 7,500. If he
emailed all 7,500 and got 1% inbound
response = 75 and 50% of those fill out form =
35 marketing level leads.
• He’d have to mail this list at least 285 times to
get the 10,000 marketing level leads in the
pipeline. (Probably more because he wouldn’t
get 1% inbound response each time.)
• No, email alone will not achieve sales goals
Solution: Multi-Touch & Multi-Channel
Email + tele-prospecting sequences
Lead nurturing until qualified & put a voice and
personality with the relationship
People buy from people they like and this differentiates them
This also yields a better conversion rate
Test two offers: Book vs.. free glove
Test two lists: House vs.. rental list
Glove Campaign Touch Count Per
List TotalLeads DialsPer Lead Emails Per Lead
House List Glove Offer 8 3,5,2,2,1,1,5,1 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,2 29 3.63
House List Book Offer 9 4,5,1,2,3,4,1,4,1 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1 34 3.78
Metal Stamping Glove Offer 1 5 1 6 6.00
Metal Stamping Book Offer 8 1,1,6,1,3,1,2,2 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,2 26 3.25
Communications Unknown 28 2,3,3,1,1,1,1,1,1,4,4,5 2,2,2,2,2,2,1,1,1,2,2 131 4.68
Communication Tier 1 15 7,3,1,3,2,2,2,4,3,2,1,2,3,3,8 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,12,2,2,2, 66 4.40
ISHN 2 8 0 8 4.00
ISHN_11_7_12 16 3,1,1,9,1,1,2,1,5,4,2,1,5,4,2,1,5,1,1,2,1 1,1,1,1,2,2,1,1,1,2,1,1,1,2,2,1, 72 4.50
87 187 91 372 4.28
Four to Five Touch Points Required
4 to 5 touches, to be exact
1. Initial email campaign
2. Initial call (Left voice message or directed to proper contact)
3. Call to engage new contact in the value prop and offers
4. Email to contact
5. Call to complete qualification script, and if qualified then
close on Superior Glove sales rep appointment
Case 2: WAN Software Company
• WAN (wide area network)
• Entrenched competitor: Riverbed
• Very complex sale to over-
• “Pain” is felt when applications
run too slowly on IT network.
But isolating the speed issue
difficult, and often trumped by
WAN Software Company
Have been doing email, webinars, PPC, trade shows.
Top of funnel demand gen focused
Large buckets of unqualified leads in Salesforce account.
Lead management issues
No formal process in place for tele-qualifying inbound
leads or generating qualified sales opportunities
Mid funnel problem similar to Forrester example
Solution Pilot Program
Clearly defined sales ready criteria
Multi-touch approach implemented + nurturing
to develop prospects until they qualify
Test two offers: Gartner Magic Quadrant
report vs.. on-demand webinar featuring
Test three lists: House lead file vs.. Rental file
of Riverbed sites vs.. webinar/seminar
As program rolled out, webinar
registrants/attendees & inbound responders
were also nurtured until qualified
Which Offer Worked?
It was nearly a 50/50 split
Which Lists Worked?
All of them!!!
But some worked better than others. How do we
know? Metrics… We tracked the number of contact
attempts required to reach IT titles from each list.
Observation: Range of 2 to 9 Touches
• Program wide, it required an average of 7.51 touches (via
telephone and email) per contact to convert to a sales-
ready defined quality lead.
• Webinar and live seminar lists representing the low end
of the spectrum at 2.50 touches (Best)
• House file and Riverbed rental file at the higher end at
9.46 touches per lead.
• It is also worth noting that this average does not account
for the pre campaign calls required to identify and
validate the correct contact, or the webinar touches.
• For example, it might require a phone call or two to gain a referral
identifying the appropriate contact. This is critical as many lists
have outdated or bad data problems.
Patience, patience, patience
• Did this program show immediate results? Not exactly.
• 1 qualified lead was generated during the first 75 hours of
• During the initial 50 hour development and roll out phase,
several challenges were identified, including low initial
response rates to the message when contacting non-
responders, difficulties in gaining contact referrals and
minimal receptivity to initial messaging
• Refinements to messaging and follow up calls to engage prospects
were needed because the IT targets were busy and had a different
way of perceiving the messaging and value props. These prospects
were only concerned about their own schedules, so setting call back
times and sending a relevant email proved critical to engaging,
establishing a trusted relationship and discussing their needs. Then
How we fixed it… Listening and Revising!
• More product training for callers was scheduled and
completed to improve call dialogue and overcome
objections that stonewalled conversations.
• Competitive comparisons with Riverbed were re-
positioned. Client was presented as a solution to
system issues encountered by Riverbed users, rather
than as a competitor of Riverbed.
• Emails were sent by members of the Calling Team that
included White Papers, and Case Studies as well as
On-Demand Webinars designed to refine sequential
touch points, improving the quantity and quality of
program dialogues. This helped establish a nurture
sequence designed to educate prospects on the
viability of client offerings.
About Beasley Direct Marketing
Beasley Direct Marketing, Inc. provides copywriting, design,
programming, and consulting services for the following direct
Search (PPC and SEO)
Email Creative, Design, Deliverability Audits, and Broadcast
Direct mail (with and without PURLs)
Landing Page Design (with and without PURLs)
Brochure, White Paper, and Guide copy and design
List Building and CRM Database Management
Translation for all of the above
Executive Dashboard Tracking, Reporting, and Lead
About Direct Marketing Partners (DMP)
DMP is a lead management and lead funnel qualification
services provider for B2B selling firms
DMP provides customized lead-to-sales service bundles.
DMP teams are an extension of our clients’ demand gen teams.
Clients receive dedicated trained teams to execute multi-touch email,
direct mail and peer to peer tele-prospecting campaigns with marketing
automation and funnel metrics to optimize lead to sale conversions.