Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Give Your B2B Prospects Time to Develop

Brian Carroll posted an excellent article at the Marketing Profs blog today. Here's an excerpt that really hit home with me:

Although more and more companies recognize the need for and actively seek better lead generation, a ton of leads doesn't guarantee increased sales. In the complex sale that dominates business-to-business marketing, the actual selling occurs when the sales person isn't even present.

Startling as it may seem, longer-term leads (future opportunities), which are often ignored by salespeople, represent 77% of potential sales, according to research.

Most inquirers don't buy right away, but they do buy. An in-depth study for Cahners Business Information of 40,000 inquiries generated by ads and press releases in magazines serving the manufacturing marketplace found that six months after inquiring, 23% of the subjects had bought the product or service, either from the promoter or from a competitor. An additional 67% indicated that they still intended to buy.

Furthermore, of those from earlier inquiries who bought, 11% purchased within three months of inquiring, 17% purchased within four to six months, 25% purchased within seven to 12 months and 47% bought in a year or later.

Nevertheless, many salespeople believe that advertising inquires are not worth following up. Why? Probably because a majority are likely from longer-term prospects, and salespeople generally need more immediate sales to meet monthly or quarterly quotas and earn commissions.

If inquiries are simply passed on to salespeople, reps, dealers or distributors for follow-up, beware. You may be leaving as many as 8 out of 10 sales prospects on the table for your competitors.

Couldn't have said it better, Brian! Bravo!


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