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November 2005

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Mac Mcintosh - The Business To Business Sales Lead Experts

You�ve spent a great deal of time, effort and money putting together your sales-lead generation programs. How you handle those sales leads once you get them makes the difference between happy salespeople and new customers or unhappy salespeople and lost sales.

Here�s a checklist of questions to ask yourself to determine if you have the best chance of being successful:

Are you prepared to send requested information immediately?

  • Do you know what to send in response to different types of inquiries?
  • Do you have electronic versions for those who want the information by e-mail or via downloads from your Web site?
  • Do you have adequate supplies of printed materials ready for those who prefer them?
  • Do you have the people, systems and processes in place to get the requested information out the door quickly?

Are you prepared to capture all inquiries in a database for ongoing nurturing and qualification efforts?

  • Do you have the database ready to go?
  • Do you have the data entry people or outside services lined up to get the inquirers into the database?

Do you have a program in place to �qualify� sales leads before sending them to your salespeople, reps, dealers or distributors?

  • Have you agreed with sales management on which questions to ask in order to determine which leads are qualified?
  • Have you agreed what information is required to know which sales contacts to route the qualified leads to?
  • Are you asking these questions on all response devices?
  • Do you have proactive programs in place to contact and qualify your leads?

Do you have a process in place for distributing qualified leads to sales contacts as they are identified?

  • Is it designed to get the leads into salespeople�s hands without delay?
  • Have you made it easy for your salespeople, reps, dealers or distributors to use?
  • Can they access leads over the Internet?
  • Does it integrate with their existing contact management or email systems?

Do you have a program in place to nurture or cultivate your not-yet-qualified leads?

Salespeople generally focus on those one-in-four sales leads who are ready to buy soon. However, research shows that three of four sales come from longer-term prospects who are frequently ignored by sales.
  • Does your company have a prospect relationship marketing program in place to keep in touch with these longer-term prospects, using email, fax, mail and phone contacts, until they are identified as being qualified and ready for sales attention?
  • Do you know what messages to send as part of your prospect relationship management program?
  • Do you know how often to contact prospects with these messages?
  • Do you know what offers to use to get them to further identify their needs and situation so you can determine if they are ready for sales?

Do you have a program in place to measure and track the results of your various sales-lead generation and cultivation and sales follow-up programs?

  • Can you determine your cost per lead, cost per qualified lead and cost per sale?
  • Do you know which lead programs generate the highest return on investment?
  • Do you know which nurturing techniques worked and which didn�t?
  • Can you prove to management that your lead generation programs are paying off in increased sales and market share?

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M. H. "Mac" McIntosh is described by many as one of America�s leading business-to-business sales and marketing consultants and an expert on the subject of sales leads. He is president of Mac McIntosh Incorporated, a sales and marketing consulting firm specializing in helping companies get more high-quality sales leads and turn them into sales. For more information, to read additional articles by Mac, or to request a free subscription to his newsletter, Sales Lead Report�, please visit

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