Whether you have an external telemarketing agency generating ‘warm’ sales leads, or an inside sales team setting appointments, one thing’s for sure: if they are not contacting the right people, you’re throwing away your marketing budget.

At Growth Intelligence, we’ve looked into the outbound conversion rates of some of our clients – before they started working with us. This research suggests that a typical B2B conversion rate is around 2.4%.

It usually requires at least six calls to get through to a senior decision maker. If each of those calls lasts for just 30 seconds, it will still take more than 125,000 minutes to generate 1,000 leads. That’s an entire person-year, making calls every single minute of every working day. Without any breaks for food, coffee, or looking at kittens on Facebook (or, more likely, looking on LinkedIn for a less soul-destroying job).

The obvious way to improve working conditions for your beleaguered business developers is to help them increase their conversion rates. But how?

Buy better lists? It’ll reduce wasted effort, but you’ll still have to break hundreds of eggs to generate each Sales Qualified Omelette. And with the current sorry state of SIC classification in the UK*, there’s no guarantee those lists will contain the best prospects in your target sector.

Invest in fancy lead-scoring technology? It’ll filter out some companies that probably don’t need or can’t afford what you’re selling. It might even increase your conversion rates by a point or two, but not enough to move the needle on that 1,000-lead person-year.

What you really need is a crystal ball that you can look into to discover which companies are ready to buy your product today. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t exist.

Although it does – kind of – via the magic of data science.

Imagine going back in time to just before your best ever customer first bought from you. Now imagine being able to see everything they were doing online at that precise moment – who they were hiring, what they were importing or exporting, how their financials looked… Buried within this wealth of information, there would be some very clear ‘buying signals’ that would have indicated they were in-market to purchase from you.

Finally, imagine having access to all of this information about every company in the economy, and the ability to instantly extract similar buying signals to understand exactly who’s in-market to buy from you today.

Our new ebook, ‘The Biggest Problem with Outbound Marketing and How to Fix It‘, explains how this can work for you. It’s a methodology that has enabled BT Business to generate 250% more leads, and helped email service provider Pure360 create eight times as many sales opportunities.

And, while a data scientist may not look as nice sitting on your mantelpiece as a magical shiny see-through sphere, it could result in you being able to afford a much nicer mantelpiece than your competitors (or even Mystic Meg) could ever dream of.

* Don’t know what wrong with SIC codes? You definitely need to read our ebook.