SOURCE: PointClear

July 01, 2008 09:01 ET

PointClear: Companies Can Accelerate Sales in a Slow Economy

By Improving Lead Quality and Focusing on Market, Media and Offer (M2O), It Is Possible to Thrive in Tough Economic Times

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - July 1, 2008) - It might be hard to believe, but despite the eroded U.S. economy about 94 percent of generated leads are still not being followed up on by internal sales organizations. This observation is made by sales and marketing services firm PointClear, LLC, which works with companies to help them improve their lead generation and sales opportunity management for increased revenue performance.

According to PointClear President Dan McDade, the reason why so many leads are being ignored is their poor quality. "Leads generated by most marketing campaigns are viewed by sales representatives as low-level leads that are not well-qualified and therefore not likely to turn into closed business," he said. "So instead, reps turn to their own methods of prospecting -- usually not very successfully."

McDade stated that the perception of poor lead quality is often accurate since most marketing campaigns are evaluated on the quantity of leads produced or cost-per-lead, and not on actual lead quality. In contrast, generating a smaller number of higher quality leads can actually help to improve sales performance. "When sales reps are given fewer, but better quality leads, they can focus their time more exclusively on the most likely buyers. Such an approach makes sense in any economic climate, but in a market downturn it can be a way to improve efficiency and do more with less resources."

PointClear also advises its clients to focus on what it refers to as M2O -- Market, Media and Offer -- to optimize their marketing spend. "M2O is a way to keep your head above water in a sluggish economy," said McDade. "It relates back to pinpointing your best prospects, building familiarity with them and communicating messages that resonate. These are simple yet sound practices that often get lost in the grand scheme of large-scale marketing campaigns."

M2O: Know Your Market

Most companies continue to market too broadly and still miss a large percentage of their most likely buyers, explained McDade. "A typical example is a company that perceives its target market to be the Fortune 500, when it is actually a much smaller audience within that group. Some market segments respond at higher levels than others, so it makes sense to identify those segments and market to them specifically."

By applying market intelligence to identify and target only the highest-return segments, it is possible to increase sales performance while actually reducing marketing costs.

M2O: Use Multiple Media -- and Multiple Touches

Mixed-media campaigns that use a combination of quality outbound calls, voicemail messages, email and direct mail to touch prospects repeatedly over time are the most effective use of marketing dollars, compared to "one and done" campaigns that touch prospects only a single time. Multi-touch, multi-media approaches build familiarity with busy decision-makers and increase the potential of impacting him at a point when the business need for a solution is high.

"Every day, a large percentage of leads are abandoned by sales simply because the prospect did not respond to a few contact attempts," said McDade. "What many marketers do not realize is that it can take from 8 to 30 touches before a prospect is sales-ready. And, it can take as many as 12 attempts by sales to effectively engage even high-quality opportunities."

M2O: Refine the Offer

In a stressed economy, buyers often have decreased or suspended purchasing power, and value may be redefined in light of the current times. Price reductions, extended financing and guarantees can all help to motivate buyers.

What is true in any market, however, is the need for clear and concise messaging that speaks to the buyer's pain points. "Testing offers and messages within a market sub-section is a powerful and inexpensive way to fine-tune performance and can increase individual campaign results by as much as 50 percent," according to McDade.

About PointClear

Headquartered in Norcross, Ga., PointClear, the prospect development firm, provides solutions that fill client forecasts, not just their pipelines. PointClear's expert sales and marketing professionals provide clients with forecastable sales opportunities, actionable market intelligence and effective market coverage. For more information about PointClear's products and services, go to http://www.pointclear.com.

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