What does your company do with leads once marketing hands them off to the sales team? For most B2B and medtech organizations, leads are the lifeblood of the sales process. Without a sufficient number of leads and opportunities at every stage of the pipeline, it’s impossible to meet sales and revenue goals.
At the top of the funnel, effective sales prospecting ensures your high-powered field reps and distributors have ample, qualified leads and appointments to work. It works best when outbound callers and business development specialistsconnect diligently with your target audience. They gather decision-maker names and determine which organizations are qualified, with an active need for your product or service.
From there, it’s up to the sales team to build a relationship and close the sale. But, what if the handoff goes poorly and the lead doesn’t respond? How many attempts should the sales team make to re-establish contact? Finding that sweet spot is key to harmony between sales and marketing—and moving the right opportunities through your pipeline.
Here are our recommendations to make the most of all the leads you generate:
1. Qualify leads appropriately
Marketing or the prospecting team should qualify leads appropriately before handing them off to sales. But, achieving this critical metric only happens when the entire organization agrees on what constitutes a “qualified” or sales-ready lead. You can gather the necessary information through a variety of channels, including intake forms on your website, follow-up outbound calling campaigns and even market research. First, however, make sure to establish specific lead-scoring criteria for your B2B or medtech organization. Doing this groundwork increases the likelihood that the lead will convert and makes sure no one’s time is wasted.
2. Increase call attempts
Medtech and B2B sales cycles are notoriously complex. But too often, business development specialists and inside sales reps quickly disqualify leads after only one or two call attempts. Poor quota structures and limited training are common reasons for this issue. It can seem more effective to spend time contacting new leads that haven’t yet “ignored” you, but in reality, all it takes is the right effort to move forward a qualified lead.
According to marketing and sales studies, 80% of sales occur after approximately five contact attempts by the sales rep.
- Nearly half of outbound callers give up after receiving one “no”
- Another 22% give up after receiving two “nos”
- 14% give up after receiving three “nos” and 12% give up after four
This essentially means that only 8% of sales reps—the ones who make the most contact attempts—are actively working the leads in their pipeline with enough calling to make an impact.
It’s also important to factor in scale and environment. For example, the larger the organization and the higher up the decision-maker, the more call attempts you will likely need. Products and services that target senior leaders at large hospitals and healthcare facilities, or key executives at manufacturing firms, for example, will be harder to reach than their direct reports, or those at smaller companies. Not only that, but because of COVID-19, sales cycles are longer than normal, making ample call attempts more important than ever.
3. Leverage voicemail
What happens if you call a prospect and they don’t answer the phone? You’ll definitely want to leave a voicemail. With busy schedules, top of the funnel prospects may not answer the phone every time. However, if you hang up without leaving a carefully crafted message, this can be a missed opportunity to get your name and brand in front of your target audience. Try these tips to develop an effective voicemail.
4. Develop an effective lead nurturing campaign
Even when you do successfully get in touch with a lead and have a productive conversation, it doesn’t mean that a sale is imminent. In fact, it’s rare for even the most qualified lead to be ready to buy right then and there. That’s why it’s essential to have an effective lead nurturing campaign in place. Create a schedule in your CRM system, sales database or even your calendar to maintain contact with these important leads through ongoing phone calls. Consider adding emails, social media or even direct mail to create a full stream of contacts. This helps keep your brand top of mind and creates a positive relationship so your medtech or B2B decision-maker ultimately makes that purchase from you.
5. Create strong offers
Your prospects and leads are more likely to move forward in the sales funnel when you have something that interests, educates or provides value to them. Creating a strong offer that is designed to illicit a response is key here. Examples include eBooks, guides, invitations to webinars, case studies and occasionally, discounts. Offers serve a dual purpose: They solve a business need, and they give your outbound calling team a new reason to reach out to the decision-maker.
6. Outsource to professionals
Simply having leads in your medtech or B2B sales pipeline isn’t always enough. Success comes when you nurture them properly with the right tools, a “can-do” attitude and great training. Outsourcing to a professional contact center that specializes in early-stage sales conversations can maximize your opportunities and help you optimize your in-house resources.
At Volkart May, we have what it takes to create a consistent stream of follow-up attempts and conversations that will convert your leads to opportunities, appointments and sales. We’ve specialized in sales prospecting, inquiry qualification, appointment-setting and more for 30 years. Schedule a time now to discuss your sales prospecting strategy and see how our team can help you grow.