Are You Pursuing the Right B2B Sales Leads?
Many of our clients refer to a grading scale for B2B sales leads that puts a temperature on each, which determines their level of interest and time frame to buy.
The scale divides the leads into three groups:
A Leads – Ready to buy within the next 3 months. These leads have a defined initiative, they’re looking, they have plans to buy, and will consider our client as well as their competitors.
B Leads – The defined initiative is the same, but the realistic time frame to buy is slightly longer; 3-6 months.
C Leads – These prospects either have a defined initiative, they’re looking to purchase within 6-12 months, or there is not yet an initiative, but they have a business pain that our solution would solve, and they agree to take next steps to pursue that and evaluate it further.
Conventional wisdom dictates that only As and Bs are B2B sales leads with real opportunity and are worth pursuing.
Many clients will say they are only interested in A and B leads. This is a mistake.
A lot of real opportunity lies in C leads. If you don’t pursue them, someone else will.
Why is a C lead worth the time it takes to pursue it?
Consider where those leads considered Cs are in their buying cycle. Just at the beginning.
They are experiencing a business pain, and aren’t quite sure yet how they are going to solve it, or if it’s even possible to find a solution to fit their needs.
By pursuing a C lead that doesn’t yet have a defined initiative, you get to them sooner in their buying cycle and have the opportunity to be involved in their evolvement.
Our colleague Marc Miller (whom we interviewed for an earlier blog post) states in his book Selling is Dead, “engaging a buyer already in the shopping stage for a new application, should represent a less frequent occurrence. Demand has already been created internally at the buying organization, and the seller’s opportunity is probably a competitive opportunity.”
Reaching a prospect earlier on in the buying process means less competition and more opportunity.
You and your product become the influencer and possibly the blueprint for what they are seeking.
Spend time pursuing A and B leads, go after them as best you can – but don’t give them the majority of your effort. Often times with A and B leads, you are already too late to the party. You are competing with many others who are pursuing them as well, and there is not as much opportunity.
Those that give as much attention to C leads as they do to As and Bs will be rewarded. And perhaps rewarded more so.
What is your experience with A, B, and C leads? Have you found success in pursuing clients with a defined business pain but not yet an initiative? Please leave us a note in the comments.