Measuring the effectiveness of lead gen programs is always at the top of a demand gen expert's list of priorities.  One of the gating factors happens to be out of their control -- what does the sales team do with a lead once they start working it?

In a previous blog article, I shared poll results showing C Level prospects being more than willing to take their first introductory appointment by phone.  Of their initial meetings with vendors, 58% were by phone and of those, 69% were "effective."

b2b sales leadsIn general, it is becoming more the norm to begin a relationship by phone.  But what happens next? The outcome of meeting number one should be to have a follow-on sales activity.  What should be the goal for meeting number two

For myself, I made it my goal over the past six months if an introductory call was going well to ask for a face-to-face meeting.  The next step in the sales process may be to present a quote or meet other decision makers, but by insisting on a face-to-face meeting, I was able to put my best foot forward and start building rapport at a level beyond what a second phone call could provide.  No hard stats to back it up, however: In Q1 of 2010 we closed the same amount of business as Q3 and Q4 of 2009, and in 2009 we grew by a factor of 3X.  

Questions this raises: 

Should that first meeting have been face-to-face?

I think not.  Of the appointments I took, roughly 4 in 10 resulted in that second meeting.  A third resulted in nurturing activities, and the remaining meetings were discarded as unqualified.  Making the first appointment by phone allowed me to avoid travel and time investment in the 60% that didn't result in immediate sales activity.

Should I have handled meeting number two by phone?

I've done it before; in fact, a majority of 2007 through 2009 was spent effectively selling with phone relationships. That said, I think that my best selling is when people get to meet me, in person, and can feel the integrity and passion that I bring to each project.  

Should you add "meeting two should be face-to-face" to your demand gen SLA with sales in order to increase the effectiveness of the leads you generate?

If you are in a sales environment that eventually end up in face time, then I recommend it.  Have a qualfied criteria that defines which opportunities move to the face time requirement, but definitely consider adding it. The Internet and increased communications tools could be holding back your conversion rate.

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Have you seen our webcast replay of The 10 Pillars of an Ideal B2B Demand Gen Platform on Focus.com?