When One Out of Ten is an Abject Marketing Program Failure

Posted by James Obermayer on May 12, 2015 9:30:00 AM

Lead Generation Featured Image

Demand Better

The sales manager, Bob, said to me in a gleeful voice, full of enthusiasm and hope: “We’re winning one out of every ten of our proposals, and we’re ecstatic.” I didn’t know how I was going to break the news to him that if this was the best they can do with their marketing program, they will never have more than an ‘also-ran’ business that earns a basic living for its founder, but never makes a significant mark in the marketplace.

Marketing Program Baseline of ExpectationsBut I asked him, “Why do you feel this way?” 

“First of all it’s predictable. If I win one out of ten, I just have to propose enough business to keep the doors open and make a profit.”

The reasoning was not unsound; the expectation was too low. At this point I could see he really meant that going to bat and hitting one out of ten was a sign of success.

“But what if I tell you,” I said, “that good companies win 3, and great companies win 4-6 out of every 10 proposals. How would you feel?”

“Kind of crappy,” was his unvarnished response. “Tell me why I should expect more and how I can get there.”

This conversation took us down the road that explained average buying ratio of raw leads (45% were buyers), qualified leads (20-40% higher), and then proposals (30-59%). This was why he should expect more.

How to get there was more complicated. It had to do with customers’ expectations for proposal delivery, namely: immediate versus a 3-5 day delay, in-person versus over-the-phone and web, and quantity of sales leads coming in to support the back-end requirements.

To start, Bob had to project the number of sales and dollars that would result from the leads he gets. I told him there is a formula:

Baseline Formula

This number becomes the Baseline of Expectations. From this I explained that he can tackle:

  • Increasing the follow-up percentage by the salespeople and marketing

  • Increasing the market share percentage expectations by reviewing:

My advice to Bob was short and full of hope: Improve your expectations; decide where you fall short; and improve your closing ratio. Repeat. 

Jim ObermayerToday's blog was submitted by James Obermayer, Executive Director and CEO of the Sales Lead Management Association and President of Sales Leakage Consulting. James is a regular guest blogger with ViewPoint.

Tell us what you think!

Topics: Marketing & Sales Alignment, Sales Process

Revenue - Inbound - Nurturing = The GAP. We guarantee you'll be surprised by your actual metrics. Try our Lead Revenue Calculator
Get the Calculator

filter blog posts

  • Search

Top 5 posts

How Much Leads Cost

I review a lot of content on this topic and am amazed at what I find written about lead cost. For example:

What Should the Sales Close Rate Be?

I’ve read and heard (from a well-known industry analyst firm) that best-in-class companies close 30% of sales qualified leads..

Gold Calling vs. Cold Calling

I've written many blog posts on the fact that cold calling isn't dead. In fact, doing the right amount of research, adding a..

Outbound vs. Inbound: The Risk Management Issue in the Complex Sale

Companies providing complex, high-investment solutions are facing a significant risk management issue in light of Sirius..