Sales lead generation is the fuel that powers the sales engine; it is the single biggest sales activity to ignite the selling process. Sales lead generation includes three core principles: First is having the correct product to market fit strategy including compelling offers. Second is putting the product and offers in front of the right audience in large enough numbers and third is giving the audience a reason to act or interact with the business now.
If a business can make the above three things happen and then use some of the tips listed below to gain sales momentum, it should put the sales engine on a path for increasing sales while refining a sales strategy that will work in the future.
Every sales manager or sales leaders knows that the sales growth is a given together with other sales goals the business demands. It could be to boost sales by twenty percent or acquire new customers in a new market. Maybe the sales plan includes launching a new product line. To move sales planning and goals into sales success, sales leadership calls for carefully planned out selling tactics; clear eyed understanding on the current state of the business and the maturity to know when and what to change.
To achieve bigger sales and better sales leads generation results; here are some ideas and insights a sales manager may consider:
Step 1.Develop a Sales Lead Generation Portfolio
View all lead generation activities as a financial investors would view an “investment portfolio” of assets — such as shares, bonds, stocks and real-estate investments. Financial investors have a diversified investment portfolio because it reduces the risk and maximizes the chances of success, so if one investment strand is not performing, the other investments will pick up the slack.
Sales and business development operate in much the same way; every business should have a “sales lead generation portfolio” of all the different types of lead generation sources and different activities to gather sales leads. Plan for the future because even if a business is getting sales leads from one source (say, inbound marketing), if the sales leadership within the business implements a diverse portfolio of lead generation sources with targets, the business has multiple opportunities to get new sales leads from other channels (such as content marketing, social selling, networking, cold calling or email marketing).
So cast a fresh eye on the entire lead generation portfolio:
- Where did the business get most of the new sales leads last year?
- Where did the business get the biggest or highest close rate leads?
- Which marketing activities worked well, and which ones did not deliver?
- What was the cost per sales lead per activity and lead to revenue costs?
- How can the sales strategy be fine-tuned and how can the sales activates be adjusted to do more of the “effective” lead generation tactics, and less of the activities that did not deliver the results?
Every sales leader must keep evaluating the sales lead generation performance against targets along the way, and take the corrective actions to ensure the sales pipeline keeps flowing.
Step 2.Get in Touch With Old Customers and Prospects
Customer referrals and checking back in with old prospects or dormant customers is often an overlooked sales activity. Get the sales teams to contact old customers, dormant customers, lost business leads, buyers (if they have moved on) and people who have bought before but the business has not interacted with for a while. Things move on, people change roles, business needs are different, business lost to competitors may be in play again, so get the sales team to spend some time on this lead generation activity. Formulate a plan to check in with them and see what’s happening with their businesses. Ask questions, listen to them, and try to kick start the relationship that led them to consider or buy from the company in the first place.
It has been proven that it is easier to generate more revenue and referrals from the existing customer base (or former customers) than it is to find, qualify and convince a new customer to buy from a business for the first time.
Step 3.Have a Process for Handling Incoming Sales Leads
As the sales lead generation portfolio gathers momentum and the business starts getting more inquiries from prospective customers (calls, contact forms, emails, request for information, whitepaper downloads), it is important the sales teams understand the value in a sales lead. The sales leadership must ensure there is a process and system to handle every single sales lead.
Also ensure that weak suspects do not make it on to the sales pipeline, so the business should have a process in place for inbound lead qualification along the following lines:
- Talk (not email) to al new prospective customers.
- Listen, profile and ask questions.
- Identify their needs, budgets, authority.
- Correctly align to either lead nurturing, sales nurturing or discard.
Best sales management practise suggests that upfront qualification of inbound sales leads saves a lot of time later during the sales process. Ensuring sales leads are identified by the best, most promising, highest priority sales leads and then lead nurturing the ones that are not ready to buy now leads to a clean and transparent sales pipeline.
These three steps to sales lead generation should help a business to focus or redefine the sales lead generation process for improved lead to revenue performance. For more on this subject read related articles below.