Best Practices

The #1 Way to Increase Sales Revenue – Sales Reps Take Note

Christopher Tuttle

I’m a marketer at www.xant.ai and I’m hijacking the sales blog today. I’m writing on behalf of marketers everywhere, and I’m calling out sales professionals.

The Goal of Inbound Marketers

First, let me say that I like my job and I take it seriously. I strongly feel the need to produce more leads for sales. Here at XANT, we call that “feeding the beast.”

My specific role is to boost the website conversion rate — the percent of website visitors that submit a form and convert into a lead. I work hard to improve website conversion rate by even just a fraction of a percent.

Here’s why small changes in conversion rate are so important, using some quick numbers.

30,000 website visitors x 5% conversion rate = 1,500 leads
30,000 website visitors x 5.5% conversion rate = 1,650 leads

A small change in conversion rate equals MANY more leads. (150 in this scenario)

I am not the only marketer working to generate leads. Other marketers on my team specialize in other areas: email, ppc advertising, webinars, social, etc. As marketers, we each have the same goal: generate fresh leads for the sales team.

How Marketers Contribute to Revenue

If the company’s value per lead (revenue / # leads) is $20, my marketing efforts alone just boosted company revenue $3000. For a SaaS company that experiences monthly recurring revenue, that’s $36,000 of additional annual revenue each month!

Not bad.

Other marketers provide similar contributions in their roles. However, a problem occurs once a lead is generated.

The Problem

Value per lead drops every minute that passes after the lead is generated.

Why? As time passes, it’s harder to catch the lead at an available time. As time passes, that individual finds other solutions and it is harder to qualify the lead.

  • Contact rates drop over time
  • Lead qualification rates drop over time

The result is that the number of leads that close drops, as does sales revenue.

How Sales Reps Are Failing

Marketers appreciate sales reps. Sales reps grow the business and cover everyone’s paychecks. However, on the average sales team, sales reps are not responding to leads while the leads are hot.

ResponseAudit™ lead response research by XANT recently put the average lead response time for a sample of 3,068 sales teams at 38 hours 30 minutes. The same study showed that the average number of contact attempts was just 1.36.

There is a reason why this level of response is inadequate.

Lead response research done by Dr. James Oldroyd while a visiting research fellow at MIT, shows that the odds of reaching a new sales lead drop over 10x if you wait longer than the first hour of shown interest, and the odds of qualifying that lead decrease 6x.

In the Marketo / XANT joint eBook, “The Ultimate Revenue Engine,” XANT shows that at 1.36 contact attempts, a business only contacts just over 40% of leads.

Sales Reps, you can do better.

How Sales Reps Can Be Heroes

Dr. Oldroyd’s research is even more astounding when considering minutes, rather than hours. He discovered that the odds of contacting a lead if called within five minutes versus even 30 minutes are 100x greater. The odds of entering the Lead into your sales cycle (qualifying the lead) increase 21x if called within five minutes compared to 30 minutes.

The Marketo / XANT eBook states that with 6-9 contact attempts, sales reps could bump contact rates to 90+%.

Lets see how such an improvement in contact rate impacts number of qualified leads. (We’ll keep the % of contacted leads that become qualified constant at 20%.)

1500 leads x .4 contact rate x .2 qualification rate = 120 qualified leads
1500 leads x .9 contact rate x .2 qualification rate = 270 qualified leads

. . . more than 2X the number of qualified leads!

Sales reps can be heros by following these best practices identified in Dr. Oldroyd’s research:

  • Respond to leads within 5 minutes
  • Make 6 – 9 contact attempts

Do this and boost lead contact rates. Do this and boost lead qualification rates. Do this and boost customers and sales revenue.

Take Action Now

Marketers, Sales Reps, lets all work together to help the company increase sales revenue. First of all, you can learn how quickly and how often your sales team responds to hot leads. Grade your sales team with a ResponseAudit™ lead response evaluation from XANT.

The ResponseAudit™ takes a secret shopper approach to submitting a web lead on your site, then collects response data for about 2 weeks. You can get 1 free ResponseAudit™ per company per year.

Next, start to plan how to improve lead response efforts. See how the XANT dialer with Intelligent Outbound technology can boost sales, or see a live demo of the dialer. You’ll learn how the sales automation platform enables you to improve lead response time, increase contact and qualification rates, and boost sales.

What else can sales reps do to maintain a high value per lead? Leave your comments in the box below!

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