Lead Nurturing Comes of Age: Making the Case for Lead Nurturing Programs

Updated: January 01, 2012

Statistics Support Focusing on Lead Management and Lead Nurturing

If you're facing the same challenges at your company, you may benefit from sharing the statistics I used to persuade executive management teams to devote significantly more resources to adopt lead management practices and lead nurturing programs. This data is from B2B high tech software companies as reported by a number of B2B sales and marketing authorities, such as Aberdeen, Gartner, Marketing Sherpa and Sirius Decisions, over the past few years.

  • Only 3-5% of new lead inquiries are "sales-ready."
  • 70-80% of the other inquiries are latent demand that will buy within 2 years, BUT are not called on by sales.
  • 87 out of 100 deals are left behind by sales.
  • It takes 7 to 9 proactive communications to gain a B2B decision-maker's attention.
  • Best-in-class sales and marketing teams generate 4x more closed deals than average teams from the same pool of leads.

Convert Existing Leads vs. Generate New Leads

Additionally, you'll want to stress to your executive management team that they need to optimize their efforts at converting the leads they already have into deals rather than only generating leads at the top of the funnel. In every conversation with CEOs and the sales team, the #1 demand is "more leads," but what they are really asking for is more "qualified" leads. That means that B2B marketers need to focus on the 70-80% of all new inquiries that are NOT sales-ready.

To get the executive team's attention, use Sirius Decisions' recent study showing the sales and marketing waterfall conversion numbers of average, good and best companies. If you look closely at the numbers below, you will notice that market leading firms:

  • Close over 4 times the number of deals as "average" firms
  • Close twice as many deals as "good" firms.

These statistics make for a compelling case, especially with economic times that demand that businesses make every opportunity count.

Cost Comparison of Lead Generation vs. Lead Nurturing

Finally, I developed two budget scenarios of program costs required to impact the number of closed deals. Scenario 1 involved generating more inquiries at the top of the funnel. Scenario 2 involved lead nurturing campaigns to increase the conversion rates at each step in the waterfall. The cost difference was significant. Scenario 1 was almost twice the cost of Scenario 2, even though Scenario 2 included the additional expense of replacing the old email "blaster" with a new marketing automation system.

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