Lead generation has become a phrase widely used across almost every industry, thank goodness. The decision to begin/ramp-up lead generation is often driven from board level. Sales figures are scrutinised, targets are subtly reminded and then the flow begins.
It goes something like this (give or take a level);
Chairman/Non-Exec highlights it to the CEO who kicks the Sales Director > Sales Dir. kicks the Sales Manager > the Sales team are then reminded of their targets (ever so subtly). Sales then meet with the Marketing team demanding more leads.
Everyone who now has a warm feeling in the seat of their pants understands the need to generate the leads. Actually they were always aware of the company vision, the need to satisfy investors/beat the competition/become the de facto supplier/earn some commission! etc. They didn’t need a kick (I’ve got your back BDM’s).
So the marketing begins, lots of copy is written, emails sent, the phone glows red. Maybe you utilise some of the fantastic lead generation companies out there. Companies that can call and email on your behalf, they use your email domain, they walk, talk and smell like you. Brilliant, the pipeline is looking healthy, now what?
The same, if not higher, levels of strategy and effort must now be applied to convert that lead.
So, this conversion strategy is where it can fall down if it isn’t managed with a suitable sales process. A process along the lines of Prospect – Approach – Acquire – Keep, with possible stages in between is required.
The Approach/Engage stage is where the most fun occurs. We face many touchpoints; calls, emails, visits, presentations, demonstrations etc. marketing experts would say you need to interact 7 times before you make the sale…if only!
A good rule of thumb is the higher the value of the sale, the more interaction required. The sales duration has lengthened considerably too, not only is everyone working flat-out, they are also doing their own research, no one buys on a whim.
Even if they really like the proposition and you have demonstrated the value expertly they will still check and double check the product/service and the price…remember when you bought that car?
In addition to typical touchpoints we face situations like objection handling, embrace this. This is an indication of the clients concerns and priorities. These indications will help you negotiate and close.
As you can read there’s a bit of a science to this as well as the art, the above only scratches the surface. With this in mind it’s worthwhile ensuring that before you approach the leads that have been generated you have the correct sales process in place for your company and your target industry. A good sales consultant can set these foundations in place and help you convert little acorns into the most mighty of oaks.
Sell well…….and remember to update that CRM!