How Many Leads Do You Really Need?

Reverse Engineering the Lead Funnel

Every time we conduct a survey of our office equipment dealers, we ask what their top challenges are in the coming year. And every year since I can remember, one of the top three challenges is “Securing net new business”. (As a side note, this past fall, the other top challenges were “Attracting and hiring good employees” and “Pricing and maintaining margins.”) As office equipment dealers get into Managed IT Services, securing net new business continues to be a top challenge.

Managed Services Providers (MSPs) are not much different. In fact, recent findings by Datto revealed that “Marketing/Sales” was the top MSP challenge; the majority of MSPs struggle with lead generation efforts as well.

It’s easy to say that you need more leads, but just how many more do you need to consider it a success? I recently moderated a webcast featuring Emalee Sugano, business strategy consultant at CharTec. Emalee presented on marketing plan creation, lead generation tactics, and how to reverse engineer the lead funnel for managed services.

The Problem with Leads

Why is it necessary to go through this activity? It is hard to know whether marketing is successful because going in there are no tangible expectations.

The expectation should be that your marketing campaigns get you a lot of first interactions and first appointments. After that, it is up to your sales team to close the leads. When it comes to leads, you can expect around 1% to actually close according to Emalee.

Reverse Engineer Lead Funnel

If only 1% of leads actually close, we know that if we want to close four deals this month, we need 400 leads, right? Emalee takes us through the exercise with the CharTec sales process to see how the math works out.

The Close

We said earlier we wanted to close four deals.

The Presentation

This is where the salesperson is presenting a proposal to the client. The average partner should expect to close around 50% of the presentations they make. If I want to close four deals, I will need to make eight presentations.

The Discovery

During the discovery, you are getting a look at the client’s network and asking tons of questions to identify pain points. Solution Providers typically get to present a solution 80% of the time. If we need eight presentations, we will have to complete 10 discoveries.

The First Appointment

During the first appointment, you are trying to see if the client is a good fit and close on a discovery. Around 50% of first appointments lead to a discovery, so we need to do 20 first appointments to get to 10 discoveries.

The First Interaction

The first time you make contact with a prospect typically leads to first appointments around 50% percent of the time. If you need to have 20 first appointments, you’ll need to make 40 first contacts.

The Marketing Message

We are finally at the top of the marketing funnel. A marketing message will lead to about 10% of first interactions. To ultimately close four deals, we need to make 40 first contacts, which means we need 400 leads to start with.

Influencing the Funnel

All of the numbers above are based on basic conversion rates. If you are following a consistent sales process, and know your conversion rates, you can get a more accurate picture of how many leads you need. If you don’t have a solid sales process, adding more leads may not be a good strategy. Instead, consider investing in a good sales training program to better close along the way.

Next Steps: Learn More About Chartec Sales Training

We are holding an upcoming two-day sales process training that follows the process above. Learn more about the training and find out if it would be a good fit for your team by visiting here.

Josie Heskje
About the Author
Josie Heskje is Director, Strategic Marketing for the Office Equipment Group at GreatAmerica Financial Services. Using over 20 years of marketing experience, she helps guide the strategic marketing direction of the Office Equipment Group, and is responsible for the marketing and public relations planning and execution for the business unit. She is the current Marketing & Communications Chair of the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) and was named an industry "Difference Maker" in ENX Magazine in both 2015 and 2017.