As each quarter winds down, you and your team no doubt review your marketing lead-to-sales pipeline conversion rates. How are you doing? If the funnel conversion metrics are lower than expected or you just want to increase them, you may want to consider adding peer-to-peer tele-qualification to your touch sequence. Research indicates that peer to peer style of tele-qualification AKA – the human touch – has proven to be the requisite component in developing prospect leads into “sales-ready qualified” condition. And in some cases, disqualifying them, thus saving you time and money pursuing an unfit prospect.

Fact is, higher quality sales leads convert to closed sales at a much higher rate. So how you and your firm go about building the presales lead pipeline is of utmost importance.

Many firms miss the boat on the comprehensive nature of the pre-sales tele-qualification process in a complex sale environment. They often can’t get it right, or they can’t scale. Yet the numbers don’t lie; in more and more B2B scenarios, the peer-to-peer touchpoint has kept the lead-to-sales engine alive. The program management staff is essential to steer the ship correctly. They monitor analytics to refine the scripts and develop content to nurture potential leads over multiple touches. They provide the systems and incoming prospect data so the lead development reps are productive.

In fact, leading global B2B research and advisory firm, SiriusDecisions, added the tele-qualification touch process to its waterfall model after email and digital only tracks served up under marketing automation showed significant failure rates. In the B2B environment, lead development and tele-qualification are now essential. The key is getting it right.

Action item: We suggest running a three to six-month A/B comparison test.

Model A: Email and digital inbound lead generation alone.

Model B: Email and digital inbound + tele-qualification.

Measure both the sales pipeline conversion metrics and the ROI. We did, and here’s what happened:

Tactic A – Email and digital inbound lead generation alone

  • EM Broadcast campaign to 14,769 prospects
  • Inbound landing page content, click through and web form fills @ ~1{0200e963f66a6730f3fb84f221df928a7c3c368798f83575e30c14c948a8dd87}= 161 responders
  • Conversion rate from inbound responders to qualified demo appointment @ ~ 10{0200e963f66a6730f3fb84f221df928a7c3c368798f83575e30c14c948a8dd87} = 16 qualified lead with needs and appointments set.
  • Qualified Lead = Interest in the solution and registered for demo apt.
  • Conversion rate of total prospect base to qual. demo lead @ .1{0200e963f66a6730f3fb84f221df928a7c3c368798f83575e30c14c948a8dd87}

Tactic B – Email and digital inbound with tele-qualification integrated into the process

  • Follow up tele-qualification and nurturing calls to approximately half of the non-responder group @ 7,513
  • Prospects contacted @ ~ 33{0200e963f66a6730f3fb84f221df928a7c3c368798f83575e30c14c948a8dd87} = 2,511
  • Prospects now cleaned & data validated, appropriate content sent, and most are now in the opt-in database
  • Prospects engaged on a tele-qualification call, value prop delivered, scripts completed, needs captured & content emailed @ 26{0200e963f66a6730f3fb84f221df928a7c3c368798f83575e30c14c948a8dd87} = 662
  • Personal 1:1 relationships now established with each prospect
  • Conversion to demo sales-ready leads @ ~ 32{0200e963f66a6730f3fb84f221df928a7c3c368798f83575e30c14c948a8dd87} = 217
  • SRL Qualified Lead = Interest in solution & registered for demo
  • Conversion rate of prospects called to qual. demo lead @ 2.9{0200e963f66a6730f3fb84f221df928a7c3c368798f83575e30c14c948a8dd87}

Final pipeline conversion results:

  • Test Model A: Sales ready leads (SRL) @ 16
  • Test model B: Sales ready leads (SRL) @ 217

For more information on developing a pre-sales tele-qualification process that really works, see another one of our blog posts on the subject. Tip 8 – Mastering Multi-Touch Campaigns