Effective Lead Generation Part 1

Sales are a vital part of any business, and the lead generation team are the back room heroes of your sales force. Unfortunately, this area of most businesses sees more missed opportunities, more wasted resources, and is often more neglected than any other area in marketing and sales. The truth is that with a well run lead generation department you can build a huge competitive advantage into your company.

Your lead generation team not only has a profound effect on your sales team’s productivity and your bottom line, but also on your sales team’s job satisfaction.  Have you got great people on your sales team?  Make more money and keep your star performers longer by helping them perform better. 

What follows are 7 principles that will rejuvenate and fortify your businesses Lead Generation department.

Be a Good Boy Scout: Be Prepared

You want to increase your sales, and so you want to increase the quantity and quality of your leads.  Before you do anything at all, make sure that you are prepared.  If your prospect requires more information, does your lead generation team have it at their fingertips?  If they will need to have catalogues or brochures sent, do you have them printed and do you have a system to ensure that you follow through?  Do you have a system in place to qualify your leads?  Do you have a leak proof process for moving a qualified lead over to your sales team that will retain all of the necessary information? Do you have a program in place that is designed to nurture your leads?  Are you prepared with a system to track and monitor your leads as they convert to prospects and sales? 

Focus on the Needs of Your Customer, Not the Features of Your Product

Your prospects have a lot going on in their day.  If you want a piece of their busy schedule, your communication with them needs to start with how your prospects or services fill their needs.  Selling the particular features of your products or services is the job of the sales department.  Your job is to make them interested in your offerings because it fills their need.  Your focus should be completely on your customer and how your products or services can make their life better.

Build Meaningful Relationships

Nurture your leads with consistent and meaningful communication. Business follows relationships.  Develop the relationships and the sales will follow.  Do not overlook long term prospects, or leads that do not develop overnight.  It is estimated that long term future prospects represent 40-70% of potential sales.

Define and Focus on Quality Sales Ready Leads

Every team member in your lead generation department should have on paper a definition of a qualified sales-ready lead.  This should be developed in conjunction with your outside sales team.  To build this, you will need to ask the right questions. 

  1. What are your prospects’ biggest needs or concerns in their business?
  2. What are the key ways that your products or services fill those needs?
  3. What are the things that influence your prospects the most?
  4. What are the biggest objections to your products or services, and how can they be overcome?
  5. How can you identify time wasters/non-qualified prospects early and move on?
  6. How can you identify qualified sales ready prospects early and pass them on to sales?
  7. Who are the decision makers, what are their common titles, how many of them are there?

A system that provides better leads has a vastly improved close percentage.  We’ve all been to trade shows and seen fish bowls full of business cards.  The enticement is usually a prize of some kind, often one that doesn’t relate to the promoting company’s products or services.  These cards are then taken to the sales team, and proudly handed over as leads. In most cases, what this does is create a lot of wasted time, energy, and resources for your sales team. Focus on generating quality leads for your sales team and your conversion rate will increase dramatically!

Read more in Part 2

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