On The Flip Side

Follow The Lead

Your marketing efforts have led your clients to water: Sales leads are plentiful. What next? If yours is like many companies, says M.H. "Mac" McIntosh, founder of The Mac McIntosh Co. Inc., a Redondo Beach, California, sales and marketing firm, too many of those leads go to waste.

How? "Salespeople tend to concentrate on the leads most likely to buy now," says McIntosh. "They don't want to spend time on the longer-term [leads]."

According to a study by McIntosh's firm, 72 percent of buyers in the manufacturing sector take more than six months to buy--and 47 percent take more than a year. If your salespeople are neglecting longer-term prospects, they're wasting marketing dollars.

McIntosh urges entrepreneurs to make inquiries to their own companies incognito, then track the results. Do you receive the information you requested? Does your company follow up? Also, make the same request of your competitors and compare. [For more investigation strategies, see "Guerrilla Marketing," December 1997.]

You can improve your company's marketing by examining your procedures to qualify leads, optimizing the flow of leads and establishing better programs to stay in touch with prospects. McIntosh also performs a service called a "sales lead audit," designed to show companies where their programs fall flat--and how to coax prospects into finally taking that drink.

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This article was originally published in the January 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: On The Flip Side.

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