Don’t believe everything you read about executives not wanting to talk to vendors. Some years ago I learned that SVP and C-level executives are 2.5 times more likely to respond to quality voicemail and email than their junior reports. I was blown away!
In this 5th and final installment of our series, I’ll explain why this is the case … AND why they are also substantially less likely to give up their digital body language via marketing automation.
Given that 20% of all leads generated on behalf of our clients are from returned calls and email replies, voicemail and email are critical to our touch cycles. As I began to discuss the topic more and more with other senior executives, I started to understand why we were able to experience such a favorable response rate. Senior executives feel an obligation to speak with experts outside their companies to ensure they are getting balanced information and not information that has been spun to protect turf. They do, in fact, want to talk to an expert vendor who might have solved a particular problem multiple times for companies in similar circumstances.
What senior executives are not responsive to is marketing automation. If you are waiting to read a CEO’s digital body language, you may have a long wait. Generally, they depend on more junior executives to do online legwork (and you can score some of the juniors). However, C-level executives will give their time to an individual who leaves well thought out voicemails or sends insightful emails—someone who appears to “get it.” You know the one. The rep who approached you in a professional manner and was not all about their company but about understanding your situation and how (or if) they could help. It‘s true that if you have a commoditized, relatively low cost product or service, you can’t afford to invest the time in personally reaching out to your entire market. However, if you sell a high dollar (either SaaS recurring or high front-end cost solution), you can’t afford to wait for the market to come to you.
As we wrap things up here, let’s take a look at what we’ve learned:
- Between 70 - 94% of leads generated by marketing are ignored by sales. Reasons vary, but it is mostly because they have been conditioned to expect poor quality leads from marketing AND because there is no closed loop system to stop the problem.
- For every real, sales-ready lead generated, there is a pipeline lead that is highly likely to convert to a sales-ready lead within 1 - 3 months. This will generate 1 - 2 incremental leads, a 20 - 40% increase in results as compared to the outcome of ignoring pipeline opportunities.
- For every 100 “suspects” dispositioned* or completed (completed contact), 25 should be carefully nurtured by a live person over the next year. This generates an additional 5 - 6 leads.
- For every 100 “suspects” dispositioned, 35 - 45 of them will be unresponsive to the first touch cycle, but a substantial portion of those non-responsive names will close as business for your company or a competitor within one year. Another 2 - 4 leads will result if these are nurtured carefully.
- Senior executives are 2.5 times more responsive to quality calls and voicemails than are their junior reports … AND, they are substantially less likely to give up their digital body language via marketing automation. If you are a true professional, bringing value and not just company speak, pick up the telephone and engage CEOs and other high-level executives. They are actually waiting for your call—and happy to talk to you if you can offer value.
Here is another way of looking at the improvement in results based on 1,000 initial suspects: (Note that the top table is one-and-done marketing which ignores that value of nurturing, while the bottom table triples results by effective use of nurturing.)
(To learn more, download Mind the Gap)
There you have it. Just as lemons can be turned to lemonade, “bad leads” can become “good leads.” Triple your lead rate—and savor the sweet victory. I hope you have enjoyed and benefitted from this series. Reach out to me with questions, suggestions—and even complaints!
Read the other posts in my "Nurturing" series:
Part 5: This post
*Disposition - noun: the classification of a prospect account as determined after a cycle of lead qualification activity; verb: to classify prospect accounts using a cycle of lead qualification activity. Standard PointClear disposition categories include: Lead, Pipeline, Nurture, Disqualified, No Response, Bad.