An article/chart from Marketing Sherpa states "one of the most challenging obstacles to marketing is the time span from lead generation to sales conversion" and that "these long sales cycles put pressure on marketers to streamline the lead nurturing process".
In fact, Sherpa correctly points out that when prospects first enter the pipeline, they are likely months away from purchasing. This is completely normal. This is why lead nurturing is so critical. And also why it is so important to be relentless in your marketing and PR so you can keep those leads coming.
Check out the graph on this page from the Sherpa article. If you do the math it shows that for every 100 "leads" you generate, 4 will purchase. Wondering how accurate this was I asked our head of sales, Jonathan Goodman, how the metrics for our SaaS product HRmarketer.com compared to Sherpa's research.
Our close ratio in 2009 was nearly identical.
Granted, 2009 was a lousy year for just about everyone including us but compared to a lot of companies we did pretty darn good - and we did not cut our marketing spend in 2009.
Imagine if we did? Scary thought.
The Sherpa article went on to state:
"It is marketing’s responsibility to identify and fulfill the information needs of prospects at each stage and to advance prospects through the pipeline to a sales-ready stage as rapidly as possible".
Word to the wise - don't cut back on your "lead generating" marketing and PR in 2010. You need as many leads as you can get.
And when you get them, nurture them at every stage.
Labels: lead nurturing, market research, sales leads