B-to-B: You Gotta Score to Win
Why can't I get more qualified leads?" the sales manager pleads. "You give us inquiries, but we don't know what they want, when they want it or if they are budgeted. It would help to know if they are qualified to buy." He continues, "You send them a package of literature, and marketing doesn't reach out to them again. How about giving us more qualified leads and skip the raw inquiries?"
Sound familiar? Sales managers and salespeople plead for help, and the marketing team struggles to create demand—yet just creating more inquiries is expensive and futile. A few years ago, qualification of inquiries (via grading and scoring) was a convenience for letting your salespeople know which leads were hot and which were not. Today, it is merely a by-product of what scoring can do for your company and its sales efforts. But before we get into how to do it, you must be convinced of why scoring is necessary.
It's Always Predictable
Inquiries and leads always close at a predictable rate; it's no longer excusable to not know the closing ratio. The Rule of 45, widely respected in the B-to-B world, states that 45 percent of all inquiries turn into sales for someone … and it is a stone-cold fact.
Simply put, measure any lead generation campaign by tracking the results (at three-, six- and 12-month intervals, or longer if the sales cycle exceeds 12 months) and you will find that 10 percent to 15 percent of the inquiries buy in three months, 26 percent buy in six months and 45 percent buy in one year. Believing this and proving it is the basis for all future actions, allowing you to forecast the future. For every 100 inquiries, there will be 45 buyers for someone—let's make sure it's your company.