What happened to all those leads anyway?

Demand Creation ‌• September 17, 2013

Marketing professionals tasked with lead generation often look back on their efforts (and Sales’ subsequent pipeline adds) and wondWhere are all my sales leads?er, “What happened to all those leads anyway?”  After processing over 4 million raw inquiries in the past five years on behalf of our clients, I’ve gained a few insights into what sales professionals actually do with marketing sourced leads.

First, a snap decision is made on whether or not the account will actually have a chance of becoming a customer (i.e., does the account fit the TAM).  If it passes this test, then a judgment call is made on what influence or decision making capabilities the contact associated to the “lead” has.  From there, they typically will look at their LinkedIn connections to see if they already have relationships that can help get them into the account.  If all this “research” adds up and passes their lead quality judgment calls, they then begin the laborious effort of trying to connect with the contact.  This most often requires multiple phone call and email attempts over the course of a couple of weeks.


In all, our data suggest that it takes, on average, 9 attempts to connect with B2B contacts.  While the work of attempting to connect isn’t hard, the tracking, disciplined queuing, and reminders for each of these attempts is where most sales professionals simply don’t have the tools necessary to get the work done. It’s really a regression and statistical math-modeling problem. Not everyone is available when a salesperson reaches out. Not everyone is going to respond to phone calls, emails, or voice-mails.  Put those two variables together and you get a pretty complicated queuing and scheduling challenge.

Think about it this way: if each of your sales reps got five leads a day and only got connected to one of them, at the end of a typical month, they would have 80 leads with which they never connected. And this backlog only grows by the day.

In order to effectively manage this backlog of lead development work, you really need a system that monitors the attempted efforts made to connect with each lead, properly queues and schedules follow ups with responsive leads, and leverages automated email reach-out to help drive engagement with as many leads as possible.

Where CRM systems are being used as  lead development and lead management platforms, most organizations are seeing less than 15% penetration and engagement with marketing-sourced leads.  We’ve found that when a systematic lead development and management process is put in place, the engagement and penetration on marketing-sourced leads can be raised to well over 50%.

What would doubling the engagement rate of your marketing leads do for your sales revenue engine? Let me know if you’d like to schedule a 30-minute assessment of your current lead development processes—you might be pleasantly surprised by how quickly you could grow your sales pipeline by engaging with inactive marketing leads.

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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