Overcoming Lengthening B2B Sales Cycles


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Recent research from a number of sources confirms what all of us in demand generation have suspected for some time now: (1) In spite of the proliferation of new marketing communications tools like social media, companies report that generating qualified sales leads continues to be their biggest challenge and (2) The sales cycle, especially for technology marketers, is getting longer. What significance do these findings have for B2B marketers?

Companies (and especially their field sales forces, dealers, and resellers) have always wanted more qualified leads, not more leads, so this isn’t a big surprise. However, the lengthening sales cycle is a relatively new trend that is increasingly frustrating salespeople. Organizations need an effective way to deal with this phenomenon.

Lead nurturing now as critical as lead qualifying

In this environment, more and more prospects will score as “B” level leads— meaning that they may be qualified to buy your product but are not yet ready to make a purchase decision. Turning these prospects into “A” leads requires a systematic lead nurturing system that:

  1. Makes regular recontact— to continually reassess prospect status and keep them engaged.
  2. Uses multiple recontact methods— including outbound telemarketing, email, direct mail, and IM.
  3. Gathers critical intelligence— about the prospect’s needs, objections, and concerns.
  4. Educates and builds trust— by providing valuable information that that answers the issues raised in point #3.
  5. Identifies additional decision-makers and influencers— in the organization whose needs must also be addressed in order to make the sale.
  6. Feeds qualified leads to your sales force— when they are ready to be engaged.

Maximizing your ROI and more

Successful lead nurturing programs enhance the ROI from your demand generation activities by maximizing the potential of each and every inquiry. Just as important, lead nurturing reduces the need to continuously fill your sales funnel with new leads.

Have feedback on this or any other topic? Let me know lfoong (at) thealeagroup.com.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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