If your sales team often complains about the leads they receive from your direct marketing campaigns – or if you’re frustrated with lackluster lead follow-up and low conversion rates – you may be unwittingly committing one of the seven deadly sins of direct marketing lead generation.
Here are the common mistakes business-to-business marketers make with lead generation and tips on how to avoid them:
1. Leads are not qualified.
Problem: All responses are sent to the sales force regardless of their potential value. Sales reps waste time chasing weak prospects because they don’t have the information to distinguish good leads from bad.
Solution: Ask questions on the direct mail reply form, the web response form, or via your call center to qualify prospects by their level of interest and authority to purchase. Share this information to help sales reps prioritize their efforts.
2. Leads are from the wrong prospects.
Problem: The mailing lists you used in your direct marketing campaign didn’t reach the right decision-makers, so responses came from people who probably can’t or won’t become buyers.
Solution: As you develop your direct marketing strategy, ask the sales team to pinpoint the demographics of an ideal buyer. Choose mailing lists to reach these decision-makers and add selection criteria to narrow the list down to people who most closely resemble your best customers.
3. Leads are too old.
Problem: It takes so long to forward leads to sales that prospects lose interest in the offer or forget they responded. By the time the sales rep reaches the prospect, the lead has gone cold.
Solution: Assess your lead distribution process from top to bottom to find out what’s slowing things down. Eliminate unnecessary steps or revamp the system to get leads to reps as fast as possible.
4. Lead data is sloppy.
Problem: The lead data you send to reps is incomplete or riddled with errors.
Solution: Set stricter guidelines about what information must be required before a lead is sent to a rep and review the data input process to assure data quality.
5. Too many leads are sent at once.
Problem: The sales force is overwhelmed with a large volume of leads they can’t efficiently handle in a reasonable timeframe.
Solution: Test your direct mail to a smaller list to gauge likely response. Plan the execution of the direct marketing campaign in stages to create a steady flow of leads rather than a flood.
6. Sales reps don’t know about the promotion.
Problem: Leads are sent to the sales team from a direct marketing campaign they know nothing about.
Solution: Get reps on board early in the process by alerting them to your upcoming direct marketing initiative. Seed them on the mailing list so they receive samples when the direct mail drops.
7. The sales team doesn’t have the right tools to follow up.
Problem: Responses come in before the proper sales demonstration materials have been created or sent to the sales team. While sales reps wait for product samples, sales collateral, or sales presentation kits, prospects may be hearing from your competitors.
Solution: Plan for the development of sales demonstration materials when creating your direct marketing strategy and don’t drop the mailing until reps have the tools they need to convert leads to sales.