Receive more, higher quality leads

Sales reps often say “If you want me to sell more I need more leads” but that’s only partly true. In fact, what they need are more high quality leads. Following up low quality leads sucks up a sales rep’s time, energy and enthusiasm.

It can take a sales person several attempts and a long time to make contact, schedule a meeting, do their preparation and have the meeting. If the lead is useless it’s a total waste of their time and your money. It also makes the sales person less inclined to follow up other leads.

But it’s even worse if you have a low chance of winning but your sales rep decides not to qualify out because he or she is under pressure to fill their sales pipeline. Because you waste even more time, resources and money when you chase “opportunities” that you don’t really have a chance of winning.

It’s better to have a sales pipeline only half full of high quality opportunities, where you have a good chance of winning, than a pipeline full of opportunities that will go nowhere. But it’s even better to have a sales pipeline full of high quality opportunities – and that’s what we give our Clients.

So what is a high quality lead? We believe it’s someone who has a definite need, who may (or may not) have reached budget stage, where you know what their requirements are, where you know their timeframe, where you understand what they’re trying to achieve – and where they know and trust you.

By the time a sales person engages with them you should already have a relationship in place with them. If you (or the Database Dept on your behalf) have been educating them and nurturing them so they know you have the capability to solve their business problem, if you know as much as possible about what they’re trying to achieve and why then you have a much better chance of winning the business.

People are more likely to buy from people and organisations they trust – and it takes time to build trust. If a sales person has to understand someone’s business need, qualify them, identify their key issues, provide relevant information and develop rapport all on their first visit they’re trying to do an awful lot from a standing start. This is one of the key principles of our ARM Business Platform.

So our definition of a high quality lead is someone who has a business need, who understands how we can help them and who we’ve started to build a trusted relationship with before a sales person speaks to them.

It means your sales person can contact them pre-armed with knowledge and with confidence that they won’t be wasting their time. It means there’s a much better chance they will develop into a high probability qualified sales opportunity.

And it means your sales people will waste less time chasing no-hope leads and more time actually selling to qualified prospects, so they’ll sell more.

Get your reps to spend more time selling

Our internal research confirms what many sales research organisations say – B2B sales people only spend about 25% of their time actually selling. The remainder is spent on administration – updating your CRM, sales meetings, training, emails, forecasting – and on nurturing and prospecting.

But your sales people are your most expensive resource. The less time they spend doing what you pay them to do – selling – the less value you get from them.

And the less they sell.

Another problem is that most sales people aren’t very good at nurturing and prospecting – at least, not consistently. Sales people are measured and rewarded on a relatively short term basis – on quarterly or yearly targets. No matter how conscientious they are, no matter how much they commit to prospecting and nurturing, when faced with a choice they will always prioritise closing a sale, giving a presentation, preparing for a demonstration, an end of quarter push, negotiating a contract. And so they should.

In real life, prospecting and nurturing are dropped like a hot potato whenever something more important or urgent comes along – and there’s almost always something more important or urgent.

So even the best sales person only does prospecting and nurturing sporadically and inconsistently– and prospecting and nurturing need to be regular and consistent to be effective.

The net result is that you’re probably paying top dollar for your sales people to do something they aren’t very good at. We help our Clients‘ sales people spend more time actually selling to qualified prospects so they win more sales, generate more revenue and meet or exceed their targets.

Give your reps the information they need

Sales people are very expensive and very busy. So you don’t want them to engage with a prospect prematurely. But when they do make first contact the more they know in advance the easier it is for them. They can position themselves as a subject matter expert who can help solve the prospect’s business issue rather than “just” a salesman – if they know enough about the prospect in advance.  Ideally they should also be building on an existing trusted relationship. In particular they need to know;

  • What the lead’s business and/or technical issues are and their impact
  • Who they have talked to, who has said what and when
  • What collateral they have already received
  • If they have a budget
  • What their timeframe is
  • What their level of relationship is with your company
  • What their beliefs are about topics relevant to your solution

If a sales person doesn’t know anything about a lead before they first meet they are behind the eight ball. It’s hard to be perceived as a subject matter expert who’s there to help when you’re focused on asking qualifying questions and you don’t know anything about the issue from the lead’s perspective.

When we get pass a lead on to one of our Client’s sales reps all this information is obtained through our ARM Business Platform and stored in our WebONE Integrated Marketing Database so we can make sure they are armed with as much knowledge as possible. This allows them to focus on the lead’s business issues and how to solve them and brings added credibility.

Stop chasing deals that will never close

Some deals never close – and you can spend a lot of time and money chasing a lost cause. But many sales people are reluctant to give up, even when there’s little or no chance of winning the deal. Why? There are at least three reasons;

  • They’re under pressure to have a full pipeline and every time they give up on an opportunity it reduces their pipeline.
  • The sunk cost fallacy – because they’ve put a lot of effort in they’re reluctant to let go, even when it’s obvious they should.
  • They aren’t always good at qualification and they don’t realise that their chances are slim from the start.

So how do we help you fix this? Here’s how

  • By filling your salespeople’s pipelines with well qualified leads with trusted relationships in place, ones that fit your ideal customer profile, where there’s a business need and a good fit.
  • By giving them confidence that they have plenty of good opportunities to chase rather than lost causes.
  • By eliminating unwinnable leads in the first place.

We don’t send leads to our Clients until we understand what they need and why they need it, until we have pre-qualified the contact and built up at least the beginning of a trusted relationship. So our Clients know when they get a lead from us there’s at least a reasonable chance of them winning business.

It’s also a great incentive for your sales people to follow up leads we provide for them – because they know they won’t be wasting their time.