31 August 2017
We were speaking with a potential client the other day and won’t (of course) name any names. In assessing their lead generation process, we were stumped with the answer to the following question. After asking what system the sales team employed to follow up leads we were shocked to discover that they were just targeting chunks of their customer base based on ‘last contacted’ information. Essentially they didn’t have an effective process for following up leads. WHAT?! (our inner voice shrieked). BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE PROSPECTS WHO ARE WARM? WHAT ABOUT REFERRALS? WHAT ABOUT FOLLOWING UP?
This isn’t the first time. We have uncovered similar positions from B2Bs and NFPs in particular in the past. But at this stage it is fair to say that if you don’t have a lead generation strategy in action you could be losing thousands of dollars in revenue.
This post is just our not-so-gentle plea to so many out there in the sales arena with gaps in their lead generation process. There are many reasons why this happens including a slow move away from successful B2B sales strategies. See also: ‘Is your sales team wasting leads?’
This time, we want you to consider the following three things:
1. How do you qualify your leads?
What process does your team have in place to quality leads? Ensuring that your managed database is updated regularly to include new leads is a must! Having quality conversations with prospects and customers during sales calls can really help identify sales opportunities, with the added benefit of better servicing your customer base. With email campaigns, automation software allows marketers to see which links a potential prospect has clicked. Noticing an area of interest is a great starting point for sending further targeted materials, or a great reason to pick up the phone for a targeted sales call.
2. Have you thought about the customer journey?
Think about your lead generation processes and how it aligns to the journey your customer has taken to find you. Employing the principles of journey mapping allows you to consider every single touch point within the sales journey. Where does your sales team sit? How solid is the alignment between sales and marketing objectives? Old fashioned as it may be, sitting together with key business stakeholders (sales , marketing, operations etc) to stress test the strategy, validate the approach and work out how you can collaborate to ensure a cohesive experience will not help you identify lead opportunities but will also reduce the wastage of leads. We have had a lot to say over the years about the value of nurture.
3. Does your sales environment encourage conversation?
This is quite critical and many smaller B2Bs and NFPs can over time develop environments where sales executives grow reluctant to pick up the phone or feel it’s someone else’s job. This has a devastating impact on business and repeat business. And while any sales leader knows the challenges involved with keeping team members motivated, ensuring that the environment is positive and vibrant as opposed to sterile and staid can help.
We are blessed to have some fantastic phone based business development people in our team who know the art of building rapport and establishing need. These phone based skills take years to build and not every sales person will have these skills. To maximise your sales team performance you need to validate you are arming your team with the right sales training, tools, marketing promotions (for follow-up), incentives and encouragement really does make a difference. Check-in and listen to find out where your team might need help.
Nurture your leads
A thoughtful process that nurtures and carefully considers how your prospects are managed allows proper cadence for lead generation. This is the best practice method for generating and catering to your lead base and to identify opportunities.
See also: Lead nurturing best practice