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Sales Prospecting Perspectives

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Timeliness Matters: 3 Ways to Stay Ahead in Sales


Sales Prospecting Perspectives is pleased to bring you a guest post from Amanda Maksymiw, Content Marketing Manager at Lattice Engines. 

Timeliness Sales MarketingBack in 2011, the Harvard Business Review educated us on exactly what timely manner meant. One hour. In fact, when companies reached out to prospects within an hour, they were seven times more like to qualify the lead. The Lead Management Study from cites even more startling stats: “The odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times. The odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times.

Simply put, whether prospecting a lead from an inbound program or from your website, sales needs to be proactive and follow up in a timely manner. Here are a few ideas to help sales reps get ahead of the clock.

Ensure Tight Alignment with Marketing

An issue with sales timeliness may be a symptom of poor alignment between marketing and sales organizations. If sales isn’t proactively engaging MQLs, it may stem from a disagreement on the definition of a qualified lead.

Many companies have SLAs in place ensuring that sales engages with marketing-generated leads in a certain timeframe along with defining different stages and processes. Shared goals, processes, definitions and metrics can help ensure that the right foundation is in place, so sales can stick to the game plan.

Pay Attention to Buying Signals

Companies are emitting various signals day in and day out. They are getting new funding, hiring new executives, expanding their offices, winning new patents and adopting new technologies. Staying on top of those changes would kill any opportunity of being timely. But staying on top of those changes can help reps become more relevant.

In fact, James Oldroyd of Sungkyunkwan University in the above HBR article cites one of main reasons sales reps fail to engage prospects within a timely fashion: many sales teams are “focused on generating their own leads rather than reacting quickly to customer-driven signs of interest.” Consider using a tool that identifies trigger events or an app that pulls internal and external data together in one view. Can’t swing new technology? Get scrappy and track the trends that matter most to your business. For example, watch for VC funding updates from your prospects by reading Forbes or PEHub.

Make It Relevant

Many companies use marketing automation to collect data about their prospects’ interactions - whitepaper downloads, page visits, video views, etc. - or digital body language. Before predictive analytics was really applied to marketing, tracking digital body language was the only way to monitor engagement and intent. With changes in the ways companies are buying new products and services, it’s clear that there is room for improvement in this area. According to CEB, up to 57 percent of the buying process occurs before a sales rep is engaged. SiriusDecisions estimates that the typical journey is nearly 70 percent complete by the time a sales rep is engaged.

A predictive lead scoring approach can help solve these problems. Predictive lead scoring works by taking all of the knowable data about a prospect or account to identify the most likely buyers based on intent, not just engagement. Since behavioral interest doesn’t equate with intent, traditional lead scoring only works half the time, prohibiting sales reps from being truly proactive. A predictive approach to lead scoring can help ensure that lead scores are always relevant, allowing sales to focus on what they should - proactively engaging the most lucrative leads and closing deals.

If you’d like more information on how a predictive marketing approach could help with the timeliness issue, please download our free guide: Intro to Predictive Marketing.

Lattice ENginesAmanda Maksymiw is the content marketing manager for Lattice Engines, a company specializing in delivering data-driven business applications for marketing and sales. She is responsible for setting and managing Lattice's content marketing and social media strategies including creating, producing, and publishing engaging content.
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