13 posts categorized "Articles"

07/13/2011

Three Types of Inquiry Management Programs

Generally, I have found that there are three types of inquiry management programs. From fulfill and forget to deep nurturing. Let's look at the three types.

Fulfill and Forget: Low Touch

Fulfill and forget inquiries are just that. Usually these are B2C but also low-cost B2B products. Products are sold through retailers or distributors and resellers. The manufacturer advertises and typically drives inquirers to a Web site, a toll-free number, and/or most likely a retail establishment. The manufacturers products are usually less than a few hundred dollars, the margins are small and they don't control the sales channel. They advertise for name recognition (brand awareness) and to drive immediate need buyers into the retail store. Fulfillment is usually not done or is minimal, inquiries are not sent to the sales channel, and in some cases a database of inquirers are not kept (not recommended).

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The Six Ways to Prove the ROI for Sales Inquiries

Are there more than six ways to prove the ROI for inquiries? Probably, but these basic six ways to prove the ROI will start you off.

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The Rule of 45: Predicting Sales Results From Inquiries

The Rule of 45 is the basic measurement premise from which you can measure the effectiveness of virtually all lead generation programs. It is a steady, reliable rule which simply says that 45% of all inquiries (not just qualified sales leads), will buy from someone. The timeframe for this purchase is usually, but not always within 12 months. The percent that buys in three months is between 10%-15% and the percent that buys in six months is 26%.

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The Literature Package

Most literature packages can have six elements:

  1. The envelope (a flat 9" x10").
  2. The letter (personalized laser letter with a signature).
  3. The sell piece or product literature.
  4. Where-to-buy lists or phone numbers of the closest reseller (could be in the letter or a separate office listing).
  5. A business reply card (preferably pre-addressed with the prospect's name.)
  6. The business card of your direct salesperson.

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Seven Ways to Motivate Salespeople to Follow Up Inquiries

The following is an excerpt from: James Obermayer, Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects Into Hot Customers, (Mason, Ohio, Textere an imprint of Thomson/South-Western, 2007) and Racom Books, Page 167.

Seven Ways to Motivate Salespeople to Follow Up Inquiries

1. Greed: They will make more money. Talk to more people and they will sell more product. It is a simple law of averages.

2. Fear: They must make quota. Sometimes sales reps need to be reminded that a sales quota is a contract between the salesperson and the company. In order to make quota, they must sell product at a predictable level, which can only be done if they speak to more people than the number of customers who must be converted every year. A constant flow of new prospects helps them do this.

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Sales Stages: Funnel, Opportunity, Deal or Pipeline

The following is an excerpt from: James Obermayer, Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects Into Hot Customers, (Mason, Ohio, Textere an imprint of Thomson/South-Western, 2007) and Racom Books, Page 111

Sales Stages: Funnel, Opportunity, Deal, or Pipeline

Sales_2

Once the lead is sent to the salesperson, it begins to go through a filtering process that will either kill it as a prospect or advance it to the next level of the pipeline. These stages can be just a few or a dozen or more. Every company and its products are different. The basic stages are here, but others can be added.

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No Wonder Inquiry Management is Difficult - Look at the Departments Involved!

When you look at the number of people and departments that touch a sales inquiry to get it processed, no wonder the system sometimes breaks down.

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Marketing Qualification Stages

The following is an excerpt from: James Obermayer, Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects Into Hot Customers, (Mason, Ohio, Textere an imprint of Thomson/South-Western, 2007) and Racom Books, Page 108

Marketing Process Prior to Inquiry Distribution

 

Marketing Qualification Stages 1

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Common Mistakes in Fulfillment Packages

The following is an excerpt from: James Obermayer, Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects Into Hot Customers, (Mason, Ohio, Textere an imprint of Thomson/South-Western, 2007) and Racom Books, Page 155 

The most common mistakes in literature packages are:

  1. The literature arrives too late. I was at a home improvement show last year and asked for literature from about 50 companies. The average response time was about three weeks. Only a few took the time to send out what I asked for within a day or so. Some companies took six months or longer to send me what I requested. Send literature within three days of the show's end. No exceptions.
  2. The company does not put a statement on the envelope that says "This is the literature you requested" or some such statement.
  3. The company sends non-requested literature.
  4. They send photocopied literature.
  5. There is no sales letter inside the package.

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Business Rules for Inquiry Management

Business rules are in every organization. In sales and marketing there are rules for order entry, sales quotas, and booking and shipping orders. But there are seldom, if any, rules about how the extremely important corporate asset called sales inquiries should be managed.

The justification for business rules for inquiry management is simple: People generally follow rules. Once a set of rules is in place, adhering to the rules is less difficult than you might imagine. The vast majority of us are essentially law-abiding people and business rules are generally looked upon as a set of soft laws of business.

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