Conclusions from study: Sales Speaks – Perceptions and Ponderings on Marketing Leads

B2B salespeople struggle mightily today. Are we willing to help?

Stressed Out Woman

According to SiriusDecisions, over the last 4 years, sales quotas increased 33%, while quota achievement dropped by 25%.

Only 50% of salesreps made quota in 2010 and in 42% of companies, fewer than 1/2 made quota.

Conclusion: B2B sales is a lousy job today – at least in most companies

This is why the role of demand generation in marketing is growing by leaps and bounds. And it is why companies reach out to B2B demand generation experts like Find New Customers.

Sales desperately needs help from marketing to open doors, build trust and engage prospective buyers.

(Jill Konrath has a great eBook entitled How Marketing Radically Affects Sales. I agree with Jill 100%.)

The State of B2B Sales

Vorsight and The Bridge Group Inc. recently completed a study of over 1,150 B2B Sales reps on what they think about sales leads. We invite you to download the full study here. Thanks to Trish Bertuzzi for this great study.

I’d like to summarize this study for our readers. (Down the full study from the link above.) Before we begin, let’s look at a profile of the B2B sales study participants, so you can see where the data came from.

Here are the conclusions of the study, along with our recommendations. If you want to read the full study, click the link above.

Conclusion 1: Most leads stink

On average, only 3 out of 10 leads are in profile. 7 out of 10 have a low probability of purchase. Not only does this reduce win rates, it burns expensive cycles too.

Action item: Focus on lead quality. Make sure you have a clearly defined Ideal Customer Profile so you can get rid of bad “leads.” Reduce the flow of unqualified leads to sales.

Conclusion 2: Most leads target the wrong executives

Only 12% said 3 out of 4 or more are decision makers.

Action Item: Train Sales to focus on qualifying companies, not just contacts. Devise a process and use it.

Conclusion 3: Prospects are So-so at providing accurate data

4 out of 10 say data is accurate or very accurate. Not bad. But even that means over half is not accurate.  SiriusDecisions found that most companies have 25-30% inaccurate prospect data, while bad records are only 5% at best-in-class companies.

Action Item: Focus on data cleanliness and quality. Commit to weekly tuning. In addition, set up process to prevent SPAM. For instance, instead of taking directly to a link to content (they fill out the form and get the content), email a link for the content to them. This ensures they use a valid email address – they don’t get the content without it. While you’ll still get a bad record, they will not get your content.

Conclusion 4: Companies by and large are doing a terrible job of qualifying leads using lead scoring

4 out of 10 companies are doing no lead scoring at all.  Less than 2 out of 10 have scoring systems one can describe as “accurate.” According to the study “Sales Reps are grading lead scoring in its infancy.”

Action Item: Learn about lead scoring and get going on it ASAP.

Companies still rely on salespeople to generate most leads

65% of salespeople – more than half – generate their own leads. This is despite the fact that it is harder than ever to get in the door of a decision maker.  And the fact that demand generation (in marketing) is a hot topic. Note sales expert, Jill Konrath, says this number is shocking and encourages marketing to step up.

Action Item: Learn about B2B Lead Generation (Our white paper, How to Find New Customers; Our Education page, or the book eMarketing for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee.)

How to Find New Customers
How to Find New Customers

What do you think? We love comments and people who share.

Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers.

We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

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