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The MRA Report
Lead Generation Quarterly Trends Survey

Leads and Orders Up in last three months but still down on 2005

Highlights this quarter:

  • A balance* of 16% of retail window companies saw an increase in the number of leads in the last three months (March to May 2006) compared with the previous three months (December 2005 to February 2006).
  • However, a net 15% of firms reported a drop in leads over the last three months compared with the same period of 2005.
  • A net 21% of companies saw a rise in orders over the last three months compared with the previous three months.
  • But orders were down with a balance of 14% of firms doing worse than the same three months last year.
  • Marketing budget as a percentage of retail sales turnover spent on lead generation was down again on the previous quarter at 4% from 5%.

Mike Rigby, Managing Director, Michael Rigby Associates

* The net balance is the difference between the percentage of companies reporting an increase over those reporting a decrease.

Conversion ratios

SIZE Average leads per firm in May Average orders per firm in May Calculated average conversion ratio in May* Calculated average conversion ratio in February
Small39261:1.50 (67%)1:1.95 (51%)
Medium84431:1.95 (51%)1:1.74 (58%)
Large3441111:3.10 (32%)1:3.50 (29%)
* Orders do not necessarily relate to May leads

Compared with last quarter's survey, conversion ratios improved for small firms, but worsened for mid-sized companies. There was little change for large firms.

"Like many companies we did not do much with our website for years. However, through customer feedback and researching other websites we felt it necessary to develop it and design a more informative and user friendly medium. Investing in a good website will greatly enhance your competetive stance, and will effectively promote a company, giving people the right first impression.

"For us, it is an ideal way to show off hte latest completed jobs with accompanying photographs and customer endorsements, and to promote the range of products and services we offer."

Mr Tony Martin, Sales Manager
Kingston Installation Co. (Bedford) Ltd

2It has become a habit for people to browse the internet in the comfort of their own homes; we find having a good, informative website as part of our lead generation package most advantageous.

"Our website demonstrates credence and clout which backs up our other lead generation activity, such as local radio and press advertising and yellow pages. It also allows potential customers to gather further information about our company, or use as an initial reference."

Mr Tony Saunders, Sales Manager
T & K Home Improvements Ltd, Wellingborough


Passive source of leadsActive sources of leadsProactive sources of leads
  • Showroom & Factory visits
  • Referrals & Recommendations
  • Add-ons (previous customers)
  • Press Advertising
  • Shows, Exhibitions, In-store
  • Yellow pages/Directories
  • TV & Radio Advertising
  • Sign writing on Vans
  • Installation Boards
  • The Internet
  • Other
  • Card or Leaflet Drops
  • Door Canvassing
  • Telephone Canvassing
  • Direct Mail

Cost per Lead

This quarter there was a drop in the number of respondents monitoring their cost per lead, down to 29% from 42% last quarter.

The average cost per lead this quarter is calculated at 76, down slightly from 80 last quarter. Of those that didn't monitor cost per lead, not enough time was cited as a major factor. also, because some do not spend much on lead generation they hardly think it worthwhile to monitor costs.

In the last three months (March to May 2006) 37% of firms used 1-5 different sources to produce leads and 50% used 6-10 different sources. Thirteen percent of firms used 10 or more different sources to produce leads.

The Internet

The majority of respondents (71%) use the internet frequently i.e daily or weekly. Thirty-eight percent use it to place orders with suppliers.

Sixty-five percent of firms interviewed have a website but only 14% offer customers the facility to order online.

When asked about lead sources fabricators were keen to develop in the future, 38% or respondents cited the internet as a source they would like to explore further.

The chart shows that 36% of fabricators plan to sell windows and doors 'on the first visit' and encouragingly, 60% of those who plan to sell 'on the first visit' actually do. Of those window companies who have no intention of selling 'on the first visit', 30% do make a sale.


"More and more companies are becoming affected by saturation of the replacement casement window market," says Mike Rigby, whose company Michael Rigby Associates produced this report. "As a consequence more trade fabricators are switching their focus to commercial work to make up for lower retail sales. More firms are also diversifying into roofline, composite doors, vertical sliders and flat roofing for example in an attempt to make up for lost sales.

"However, many window companies are still neglecting proven sources of lead generation which can help boost sales. Most companies have got used to buoyant markets and receiving a flow of enquiries without their having to do much to generate them. Now they find there is a huge difference between passive referrals and recommendations (those that come in a strong market from just being there) and active referrals and recommendations (where you consistently and proactively encourage the process): when demand drops passive recommendations dry up.

"Accepting what comes is a risky game. Companies need to control their future by proactively generating leads from a wider variety of sources including installation canvassing, customer databases using direct mail and card and leaflet drops. And a major source still being overlooked by many companies in the industry - the internet.

"Some firms have no website at all. Many still see the internet as an alien concept in the workplace. It is something they use at home for recreational purposes and not associated with business. Some feel they don't need a website because they are a local firm and all their business is obtained locally. But with Google's new idea of tracking users to within 100-200 feet of their location to be able to provide them with advertising from local businesses, it is becoming increasingly relevant. You have to be hands-on and proactive if you want to do well in 2006."

The Lead Generation Report, a quarterly trends survey, is produced by Michael Rigby Associates, in conjunction with Windows Active. The aim is to provide fabricators with key information on current trends and the effectiveness in practice of lead generation methods.

The survey covers a representative sample of 100 retail window fabricators. Telephone interviews took place between 5th - 19th June 2006 across a balanced spread of size of firm and geographical area. Numbers employed was used as an indication of company size. The categories are small (1-19 employees), medium (20-49) and large (over 50 employees). For a copy of the full report call Lucia Di Stazio on 01 453 521 621

© Copyright Michael Rigby Associates 2006

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