No matter the size of the company or the industry they are in, my conversations always boil down to them wanting more leads from their industrial marketing. Yet I see very few of these companies with a lead nurturing strategy in place to convert leads into sales opportunities. As a result, online leads sit untouched or go without a response for weeks if not months.
Often I see marketing people from manufacturing and industrial companies hand off leads to sales with little to no qualifying. This only causes more frustrations and reinforces the long-standing belief by sales that “Marketing generates crappy leads.”
It is important to understand the differences between a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), a Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). (See my post, “SAL is the Glue that Binds Sales and Marketing in Lead Generation.”)
Here are some eye-opening statistics from a study done by MarketingSherpa:
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance
- 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified
- 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing
- 79% of B2B marketers have not established lead scoring
Two more stats from different sources to drive home my point:
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Source: Forrester Research)
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)
(Visit HubSpot for more marketing statistics).
I have seen some companies do lead nurturing sporadically but that is not going to produce consistent results. Many industrial companies want their lead generation to be a quick three-step process – 1) Site visitors, 2) Fill out form and 3) Speak with a sales person.
That’s an unrealistic expectation in complex industrial sales where buying decisions are made by at least two sets of buyers – the technical buyer and the functional buyer. They have different needs and the functional buyer may never visit your site.
Often I hear these companies complain that they want their online visitors/leads to speak to their sales people who can explain everything but their sales people are having a difficult time getting in front of decision makers.
The solution to the problem is to develop a good lead nurturing strategy, execute it and track it consistently. Many of the steps can be easily automated by using marketing automation technology but the final steps will require a human touch by an in-house expert such as an Application Engineer.
It has been my experience that it is difficult to consistently generate high quality industrial leads without a good lead nurturing strategy. This strategy must be developed together by both Sales and Marketing. For more on this, read the following posts:
- Manufacturers: Don’t Start a Lead Generation Campaign without Sales
- Lead Nurturing Is Not A Marketing Option, It’s A Sales Necessity
- B2B Lead Generation without Lead Nurturing is Doomed to Fail
Do you have a structured lead nurturing process in place for industrial lead generation?