We are often asked by prospects how we measure success. Our best measure is repeat customers. This summer we resigned a prominent women owned legal consultancy in the Boston area. Their original contract with Good Leads® was in 2010 and since then have come back six times for 4-5 month projects. Why the pause? Specifically to allow enough time to bid and win opportunities that we put in the sales pipeline via executive introductions to prospects we discovered had a need for outsourced legal contracts assistance in the pharmaceutical industry. Of course we have ROI calculator tools that we discuss before , during and after our program. Additionally, we build into our contract a written lead quantity guarantee after 30 days of market testing to reflect our customer’s value proposition acceptance. This is measurable. We also warrant the quality of all our introductions that they are per our client’s lead success criteria. This is measurable. And lastly, we can measure success by repeat decision makers who have moved on in their careers to new firms and opportunities for Good Leads and the automatic call to Good Leads is equally reassuring!
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Received note from Clientek CEO www.Clientek.com
“Our second campaign with Good Leads was a bigger success than our first. In that 9 months we doubled our India staff and increased our monthly revenue run rate by 75%….Good Leads was part of that team effort.
Jim and Dick (Good Leads dedicated staff), were again very easy and pleasant to work with.
We are a bit past our capacity…this is a great problem to have…thank you for giving us this headache….once we catch up, we will give you a call for another campaign.
At Good Leads, our Prospect Builder B2B lead generation premium brand, has been our mainstay offering for the last 11 years. Why is that? We think we know the answer to that but we specifically ask our customers and build the feedback process into our programs. In our outsourced business development methodology, our consultative approach with dedicated staff and program management, we develop rapport with our clients such that a simple phone call to us provides guidance to us for both the good and not too often areas for improvement. We’re not perfect. Moreover, we insist on weekly meetings with our clients where we purposely review how the technology centric appointments we have set for our clients have transpired. If they are spot on, we follow that success formula. If not, we are very much into a theme of ‘continuous improvement’ and make adjustments. Our programs are never ‘set it and forget it’ much like lower level telemarketing programs that proliferate the marketplace and tease and confuse the innocent marketing manager with ‘low price and high output’ offers.
Rapport creates that working relationship which is good for both parties but the key Measure of Success is the MQL, marketing qualified lead and SQL, sales qualified lead that our programs produce. As the CEO, I often ask the client directly for feedback. These are some quotes recently from an ERP consultation provider who has been a client for 2 full years in describing the business introductions provided:
“My conversation with XXX(large mfg. firm) this morning was very good. This is an opportunity. They are going to evaluate ERP software systems. They envision a Q42012 selection decision and a Q12013 implementation start. Bravo.”
“A very good call. (Medium size medical device manufacturer) They are running a home grown system, or systems, with a couple of commercially developed 3rd party tools and the CFO seems genuinely interested in finding a better way. IT Manager sat in on the meeting and he seems to have an understandable attraction to the status quo, but he was engaged throughout the call.” “A real possibility. A pretty good week of prospect development I’d say.”
Fortune 2000 manufacturing firm-“Original appointment was a no show at the tele-meeting because she is in the hospital with what is currently an undiagnosed malady. As luck would have it the receptionist transferred me to President XXX who was aware that XXX had scheduled a tele-meeting with me. I learned everything I needed to learn from Mr. XXX. Neither system is suited to managing a manufacturing operation. That’s why they are evaluating ERP systems. The President says that they want to make a selection decision in 60-90 days. So far? Another bull’s eye.”
Examples of Measures of Success.
At Good Leads®, our Prospect Builder® B2B lead generation premium brand, has been our mainstay offering for the last 11 years. Why is that? We think we know the answer to that but we specifically ask our customers and build the feedback process into our programs.
Rapport creates that working relationship which is good for both parties but the key Measure of Success is the MQL, marketing qualified lead and SQL, sales qualified lead that our programs produce. As the CEO, I often ask the client directly for feedback. The following is feedback recently from the executive vice president of sales for an executive level focused B2B travel management provider who is a client starting their 2nd contract period with Good Leads. He reminded us that he thought his assignment to GL would be hard because internally they had struggled with performing the discovery, qualification and securing a next step function themselves which is why they outsourced. The level of difficulty in doing so was enhanced due to the lead success criteria being set high requiring the MQL’s, marketing qualified leads, had to be with entities that had at least $1M in airfare spend annually. More specifically the target market to be pursued was healthcare. Thus the discovery and deep qualification required set the bar fairly high not withstanding determining if the entity had pain points sufficient to entertain the notion of looking at a new provider solution. Nonetheless, our client confirms that after holding face to face meetings that GL secured, 7 sales qualified leads are in their sales pipeline. A good “Measure of Success” in my eyes and the GL client as well.
Question: Market Landscape Briefing and Vertical Validation services Good Leads offers are designed to help clients offer new markets with better intelligence and confidence of their positioning. What kind of discoveries do you typically uncover for your clients in the process of researching a vertical or new category?
Answer: For the Market Landscape Briefing and Vertical Validation services, we typically deal with three type of clients looking to maximize their ROI:
1. Potential business investors who want to know they are making the right investment (backing the right horse).
2. Executive teams including the senior technologist, marketer, and salesperson who want to drive top line growth while minimizing risk.
3. Start-up teams who have had success on a client-by-client basis, and now believe they may have a product or service to take a broader market.
Typical discoveries include:
1. Sometimes a market opportunity that seems like it should be a really great investment is actually not.
For one client, we had completed a program risk profile and competitive and partner snapshot as part of the MLB. Based on our research, we recommended to the client that they walk away from an investment that looked as if it should have massive returns. The company agreed and ultimately saved $5 million by not entering what is now a flat market that is over-saturated with players.
2. The investment in the MLB and VV delivers returns that extend into other aspects of the business.
Demand generation and building of the sales funnel, outbound marketing including telemarketing, sales collateral, white papers, and websites, and the “elevator pitch” and the longer term product strategy all flow seamlessly from the groundwork completed. The MLB and VV make work with internal teams and outside resources such as ad and branding agencies more cost effective and quicker to execution.
3. The MLB and VV frameworks drive strategic and crucial discussions – and decisions – not just marketing choices.
The framework and facilitation allows executive teams and staff to have discussions that challenge individual assumptions or instinct in a constructive, action-oriented way. As an example, we frequently have client team members pull us aside and say that what was discussed is something that needed to be discussed, but there just had not been a way to get the topic the attention it needed. Having these crucial discussions out in the open almost always lead to more team commitment and a better decision for the business.
Everyone knows what a closed sale is! It is real and measurable. But can anyone say with certainty that there is a universal understanding on what a “Lead” is?
Consider the following progression from simple leads to more complex qualified leads:
1) Individual name/title, company, phone number/email.
2) Individual name filtered by self-identifying action via a website download, social media, participation in a trade show, etc.
3) Individual who has committed to an appointment with a sales rep to hear “the pitch”.
4) Individual who listens to “the pitch” and wants to learn more.
5) Individual who in speaking with a lead generator/business development/sales rep reveals details about their interest, needs, initiatives, and timeframes.
6) Individual who has revealed they are buying a solution and are considering purchasing yours.
For Business Development, Marketing, and Sales professionals, what is apparent is that there is a “pipeline” for leads, just as there is a pipeline for sales opportunities. Both pipelines are important to engage, follow-up, nurture, and track. It is crucial to establish a working definition so that you can avoid duplication of effort and prevent losing touch with prospects.
Most Sales and Marketing organizations take a quick and dirty approach to calculating a cost per lead figure. First, they look at the average value of a sale, and then they select an arbitrary percentage of that number to come to a cost per lead figure. Often, this figure becomes a never changing amount in the collective minds of the organization, even though market dynamics and product offerings are ever changing.
For deeper insight into cost per lead, consider the following:
- Is the product/service/solution you are selling a commodity or a unique/customizable offering?
- If a commodity = less complexity, less cost per lead
- If customizable solution = more complexity, more cost per lead
- What is the solution cost relative to the size of the target organization?
- A $100k price tag for a multi-million dollar a year firm is not a difficult spend and may indicate a smaller cost per lead
- But for a smaller company the same price could be a significant expense resulting in a longer sales cycle and higher cost per lead
- Is the solution one that will affect a few or many in the organization?
- Few = not so many opinions, lower cost per lead
- Many = more opinions, more evaluations, more time to sale, higher cost per lead
- What is the personality type of the decision-makers?
- Analytical thinking people like CFOs, controllers, and engineers tend to stretch out the sales process, more cost per lead
- Less analytical people tend to make quicker decisions, less cost per lead
- Strategic solution vs. Tactical solution
- This could go either way. For instance, a strategic solution could have a long term and wide ranging effect indicating more evaluation of risk than a tactical solution. But, a strategic solution might also be easier to exit or adapt to change than a tactical or point solution.
It is no surprise that complicated solutions or market trends or the solution price tag will stretch out the sales cycle, but it also has an impact on how much you should budget for lead generation.
Perhaps one of the most important questions prospective clients ask Good Leads is “What return can we expect for our potential investment?” This question signals the obvious pressures to perform quickly and with meaningful, top line results.
We are happy to report that one customer asking that question of Good Leads received their answer. They sold a $12k project in a multi-billion dollar company that had long been a target. What is better is that this was the first lead appointment they received from us and they closed it inside of three months.
Together, we look to continue this success as a result of other lead appointments.