Top Sales Leads Sources (Statistics)

By John Honovich, Published Mar 16, 2015, 12:00am EDT (Info+)

Where do integrators and manufacturers get leads for new customers?

We asked 100 sales people this question.

*** ***** ******: '*** ******' **********, though *** ******* / ******* ** integrators **** *** ******** ** *************.

** **** ****, ** ******* *** differences, ******* ***** ********** **** **** groups, *** ******** **** ** ******** of *** ******** / ************* *********.

Integrator #* - '**** ** *****' / '*********'

*** ***** *** ****** *** ***********, with **** **** **** ****** ****, *** having ***** ******** ********* *** ********** recommend ****.

  • "********* *** **** ** ***** **** me ****"
  • "******* *** ******** ** **** ** mouth. *********, ** *** ******'* ******** contractors *** ** *** ****** ****** such ** ********** ******** *** ******** up *** ********* **** ********."
  • "***** *** ********* ** **** ** mouth"
  • "**** ** ***** ****"
  • "**** ** *****. ******* ******** *****."
  • "**** ***** *** *** ***** **** from *********."
  • "** *** *** **********, ****** ********* cold *****... *** *** **** ********* we **** *** **** ****** ****** good ********* **** ***** *********/*********/*******."
  • "** ** **** ****** *********** ** promotion; ****, **** ** *** ***** come **** ********* (**** ** *****)"
  • "****** ***% **** ** *****. ** target ******** ********** *** *** * lot ** *********."
  • "**** ** *** ***** **** **** word ** ***** ** **** *** other ***** *** ** *** *****. We **** * ****** *** ** picking ** ********* *** **** ** access ******* ***** ** *** * full ******* ********* ** ****. **, a ***** *** **** ** **-*** a **** ** ******* **** **** hardware ** * ******* *** **** into ** ****** *******, ****, ** alarm ******** **** *** **** ********* their *****."

Manufacturer #* *** ******* - **** ** ***** / *********

** *** ********, **** * *** manufacturers ***** **** ** ***** ** referrals ** * *** ****** ** leads. ***** ** ************ ******* ** explanation ** ***, ** ****** ** confident ** **** *** ***** ** for ****. ** ******* **** ***** most ************* **** ******** (*.*., ******* integrators ** *** *****), **** **** contributes ** *** **** ** ********* (i.e., *********** *** ***** ******** ** recommend ******** ** ***** *********** *** competitive ********).

Manufacturer #* - ***** *****

******* **** ****** **** '*****', '******', or '********', ** *** *** **** common ****** ** ***** ***** **** trade *****. ** ************ **** * glowing *********** ** ***** ***** ** cited ******** *******. ***********, *** **** that ** **** ***** ***** ***** and ** **** **** **** *** other ****** ***** ***** **********.

****'* *********** ***** **** ** *** cost ** ***** **** ***** ***** is **** ****. $*** - $*** for * *** **** ** * fair ********, *********** **** **** * ***** tabletop ***** ****** ** *** **** of ***** ***** **** ****** **** $10,000+ ***-**. ****** *** *** **** to * *** ******* ******, *** is ******** ** **** **** **** more **** ** - ** *****. Despite ****, **** ** **** **** it shows **** **** ************* **** *** found * ****** ***********.

Integrator #* - '**********'

**** ** *** ********** ****, ***** behind '**** ** *****' *** ************* more **** *** ***** ******, ********** was ******** *****, **** **:

  • "*** ***** ****** *** ******** ** ********** groups."
  • "* *** ** ******* **** ****** I **** ** ******** *** **** contacts ** *** ********."
  • "* **** * ***** ******* ** professional ******* *** *** ****** ******* me *****. **'* *** **** *** know, **'* *** *** ****, *****?"
  • "********** ** ******** ******* ******."
  • "***** *** ********* ******* **********. *** biggest ********* ** ******** ****** **** networking."

********** ******* - **** *****, ***** Shows *** *************

****** **** ** ***** *** ********** were, ** ***, *** *** *** for ********** *****, ***** **** * few ***** (**** ******) ****** / sources *********.

* ******* ******** ***** **** *****, though ********* *** ************ ** ***** top ******. ** *** *****, "******* challenge ** ******* *********** ** **** cold *****." *******, *** *** *******, "Cold ***** **** ******* *** ******** returns."

* ******* ******** ***** ***** ***** though ****, ****** *** *************, **** were ********** *** *** ******* *** priority / ********** **** ***** **** for *************.

*******, **** ***** *****, * ***** minority ***** ***** ************ ******** ** bringing **** **** *****.

********** *** ******* - ******* *** Email ***********

*** ********, ** * *****, *** simply ****** *** ***********. **** * few *********** **** ********* **.

************ *******-******

****** ***********, ****** ***** (**** ******** and ******) **** * ****** **** source, ****** ** **** ****** ** shows. ************* *****:

  • "******** ***** *********" *** ******* "** outgoing ***** *******"
  • "******** ******** ** *** *******, (**********)"
  • "*** *** **** ****** ** *****" and "******* ******** *** ******* ****** *****"
  • "*) ********* ********* *** ** ******, we ******* ***** *********** *** ****** up."

*******, * *** ********** *** ******** of ****** *****, ******, "******* ********* for ******* ***** ******* ***** *** / ** ******* ** **** ****** looking *** ******* ** *** ******** are ***** ********" *******, "**** ** our ****-*** *** ****** *** ****** really ** ***** ** ****** *** buying * $*** ***."

Integrator - ***** *******

******, ****** *** ******* ** *** *** trend, * *** *********** *** *********** lead ******* ***** ************:

  • "******* ***** **** **** ********** *********** bidding ** ************ ****."
  • "*** **** *** **** ******* **** from ***** ****** **** ** ******* Offices, ******* *** **** ******* ******** data ** *** ****** ******** ****** in *** **** ***** *** ****** then ********* ***** ******* ****** **** direct ****, *********** *** ***** ** door ******."
  • "** ******* ****** ***'* ******* ******* services"
  • "* **** *** ****** ** ***** part ** ***** ***** **** *******. Most ** ** ***** **** **** direct ******** ** ******** **** *** sales **** ******** ** *** ***** side ** *** ********. ** ** a ******** ********* ******* ***** *** usually *** ******* ** * **** high ***** ****** ** *** ****** organization."
  • "** *** * **** ******* **** most ****** **** ***** ** ** that ***** ** **** * *** of *********** ******* **."
  • "*** **** *******, **** ***'** **** in *** ******** * *****, ** simply ******* ** **** ********. **** on * ********, **** ** *** how ****'** *****. ******* *** ** cycles. ****** ******* ******* "*****'* **** time ** ****" *** ****** ***, doesn't **** **** ***'* **** * desperate **** *****."

Comments (11)

So one of my first thoughts on the questions and answers for manufacturers - that I didn't think of until I read the report - is that there's an issue with some of the definitions.

For instance, if a manufacturer doesn't sell direct to the end user, then the easiest definition of their "customer" is the integrator who actually issues the purchase order when a sale is made. They may assist with some end user sales, but really that's a way to drive integrator purchases.

Both organizations work as a team, and you have to take the whole report to get the broadest view, but it's worth noting that there are some areas where their goals don't really overlap. Because of that, if you are only thinking about these answers in the context of how each tries to get end users, then some of these tactics and expenses will definitely look a bit odd.

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Scot,

Good point. Agreed. In future surveys / questions, we'll be sure to qualify what lead we mean for manufacturers (i.e., integrators or end users).

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For instance, if a manufacturer doesn't sell direct to the end user, then the easiest definition of their "customer" is the integrator who actually issues the purchase order when a sale is made.

FWIW, I think most manufacturers consider the end-user the "customer" for general conversation.

*Some* integrators will bring in bona-fide leads and deals, but the majority of the time, if you want to win, you're actively involved as the manufacturer. Given a choice between having 30 qualified integrators, or 10 qualified end-user leads, most people would rather have the end-user leads. An average integrator is going to produce minimal results without a lot of investment on your part (training seminars, joint demos to end-users, and so forth). But if you convince an end user that your product solves their problems that is pretty much a guaranteed sale.

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Understood and agreed on most points. But, manufacturers will use radically different (read: more expensive) tactics, as illustrated in the report, because they're after the integrators and not just after the end user.

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I would rather have the end user. If I have them, I'll get all the integrators I need to bid the project. Integrators are very important to solicit, however, an end user that wants your product will bring about all the integrators a manufacturer can handle.

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"FWIW, I think most manufacturers consider the end-user the "customer" for general conversation."

It's been my experience that most manufacturers don't formally identify who their real customer is, and therefore don't have exact, focused policies to reach out to their "true customer". Is it their rep, who covers the territory and is responsible to generate sales..is it the distributor, where the dollars change hands...is it the consutant who writes the specs...is it the integrator that sells and installs the product...is it the end user who actually owns and operates the product?

This leads to a variety of approaches to generating leads, but the real problem can start when it comes to disseminating the leads generated by manufaturers. Most demand that their sales forces follow up and report results, but provide little in the way of direction as to how these expensive leads are parsed out. It is up to the local sales rep to determine who gets the leads, and in our case, we only give leads to those who will not only follow up, be report back to us the results, and enlist our closing assistance.

It surprises me that many integrators don't "buy the rep lunch"...meaning actively solicit their reps to become sales partners, and thereby get first crack at leads, as the character of leads has changed...no longer are we flooded with unqualified requests for literature...rather, fewer, more highly vetted leads from people who have done their own investigations and searches, and are looking for more info, demo's, etc, and are real buyers.

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"It surprises me that many integrators don't "buy the rep lunch"...meaning actively solicit their reps to become sales partners, and thereby get first crack at leads, as the character of leads has changed...no longer are we flooded with unqualified requests for literature...rather, fewer, more highly vetted leads from people who have done their own investigations and searches, and are looking for more info, demo's, etc, and are real buyers."

That's an insightful point! Maybe some out there will listen to you :)

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My experience, lunch is not enough anymore. Now it's a weekend at the beach, trips, etc..Higher end stuff.

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Buy the rep lunch?

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I believe that the manufacturer reps respond better to PO's than picking up lunch tabs. It's amazing how much reps will help you when you positively impact their commission checks!

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To the contrary, only a few manufacturers cited word or mouth or referrals as a key source of leads. Since no manufacturer offered an explanation of why, we cannot be confident of what the cause is for this...

An Integrator's 'product' is their people, therefore referrals typically contain a person's name which the end-user contacts directly. During the introduction, the end-user will indicate who referred them. As mentioned, Integrators have very few sources of leads to begin with. This makes Integrators acutely aware of where their leads are coming from.

But a Manufacturers product is a thing, and people don't feel the need to introduce themselves to things and explain how they came to know of them. So you only capture this information when you poll for it. Also it's easy to count a word of mouth referral as another type, just because of the way it is first seen, e.g. is a Google search word of mouth or not?

Consider it the difference between the recommending of a Shampoo vs. the recomending of a Barber.

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