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The traditional sales funnel—identifying a list of leads, qualifying them into a shorter list of sales prospects, activating them into a few live opportunities before finally closing one or two deals—holds true for most businesses. What varies greatly is the length of the process, the variables that drive success, the number of sales meetings or calls, the types of marketing outreach and a host of other sales and marketing variables.
Virtually all business owners agree that leads are critical to profitable growth, yet according to SunTrust Business Owner Research less than half actually track prospect inquiries or leads. And 60 percent of business owners report no tracking of referrals or referral sources. This lack of tracking detail makes it virtually impossible to systemically identify the types of leads that are worth the time it takes to close them.
When it comes to selling, time is money. In particular, your time as a business owner is a scarce and valuable resource. According to SunTrust research, business owners are responsible for more than 70 percent of company sales. They also spend 19 percent of their time on prospecting and lead generation. A sales meeting involving an owner or highly paid salesperson can easily cost more than $400. Given the size of this investment, profit-oriented business owners need to make sure they invest their valuable sales time and resources on closing the best leads.
Unfortunately, most organizations don’t value leads properly and consequently don’t measure, track and follow up on them. This is a mistake. Every lead has value. A lead can easily cost you more than $100 when you factor in the marketing and time investment or customer equity that went into generating it. To make the most of their limited sales capacity, owners need to be able to answer: Is this lead worth the time it will take to close?
The B.A.N.T.S. scoring system is a simple lead scoring method that allows you and your sales team to quickly focus on the most important “hot” prospects, so you can invest your time closing the best leads. Before you begin, it’s important to consider how leads enter your organization before feeding them into the B.A.N.T.S. system. First, analyze the history of leads to quantify the steps in your sales cycle, the length of your cycle and the resources required at each important step. After that, categorize the type of lead by size of company, market segment, source of referral, etc. so that you can begin to identify leads which have a higher prospect of closing quickly and resulting in profitable relationships.
In addition, use the scorecard to develop a consistent definition and language about how you describe your sales process, high priority leads, best practice sales steps and action throughout your organization. It’s also important to analyze the flow of leads through your sales process to identify highest-value sales support functions, so that leads turn into sales more quickly.
The B.A.N.T.S. Lead Scoring System
Before rolling out the following lead scorecard, define specific descriptions applicable to your business. For example, what dollar amount classifies as a “large size” potential sale for your business?
How do leads enter your organization? Are there ways to help feed them into the B.A.N.T.S. system? For example, can your contact form include timing, role or authority of contact, etc.? Ensure that each lead is scored with the best information possible before arriving at your sales team.
Assign one time each week to review qualified leads. Decide what steps need to be taken to close this lead into a sale.
Once a month, revisit lower scored leads. Clean up your lead list by either gathering more information on a prospect or deciding to move this lead into a general prospect contact database for automated regular contact.
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