There are various statistics around new business development depending on who you are and your target audience, but some ring true in most cases and certainly in the marketing services universe. The key one being:
- 25% of leads are short term and 75% long term
It was recently reported by the BPI Network that within the professional services arena, “80% of generated leads are never followed up on, dropped or mishandled”. Whilst our clients live within the marketing world, for clients entering into a relationship with Alchemis, I would say that this figure is pretty accurate and is a key reason that a dedicated new business resource is essential to manage any lead pipeline and indeed why clients engage in a campaign with us.
Failure to nurture leads is a cardinal sin of new business and the frustrating element is that everyone we speak to knows it. Time is the biggest barrier and it seems this will only grow as agencies tighten their belts and streamline their operations. This is why at Alchemis, we insist on driving the follow up/nurturing process and it is why we have continued to help our clients convert business in what has been another tough year. Many of our 2010 client wins have been from initial appointments generated in 2009.
This is not just a case of nurturing leads over the long term, but following up shortly after a meeting to accurately gauge interest and genuine opportunity. Just yesterday morning I sat in a meeting with a client, who dismissed a meeting as “unlikely to lead to anything in the short-term”. After agreeing a quick call would be appropriate that afternoon, a brief has now been received.
Of course this is an exception, but it is by no means an isolated incident. 80% of people have been keen to see what your agency can offer. Don’t let them go cold if there is no immediate brief.