Better leads can generate more business with less effort on your part as they are more highly qualified, ready to buy, and receptive to your sales approach. Recognizing that not all leads are created equal can help sales people focus their sales effort on the leads that are most likely to provide a return on the investment laid out to generate and cultivate those leads. Once a pipeline that generates more and better leads has been built, you can maximize your sales effort to create a consistent flow of new business.
Build a Sales Platform Based on Your Position as a Trusted Advisor
When a lead is considering making a major purchase, he or she is not looking for just a sales person; that lead is truly looking for someone who can act as an advisor and guide him or her towards the right offering at the right price for his or her needs. Sales people who are able to elevate themselves to the position of a trusted advisor in a given marketplace immediately gain visibility for leads that are looking for a supplier partner. This visibility results in more and better leads by encouraging potential customers to make first contact, at which point they become valuable inbound leads. Consider increasing your visibility by:
- Conducting webinars that focus on issues and solutions in your target market.
- Providing content marketing, such as white papers and fact sheets, in return for inbound lead information.
- Expanding your email marketing efforts to include interested parties who are not leads but who could become leads if given the right motivation.
Make Lead Qualification Part of the Lead Generation Process
Too many organizations focus on generating the highest number of leads possible in a given campaign with the intent of qualifying and following up with those leads once the information is entered into a database. This approach almost universally creates high numbers of unqualified leads who are not in a position to buy and diverts sales peoples’ valuable time from the better leads that all organizations should be focusing on. To avoid this, sales people and their organizations should always focus on quality over quantity and implement basic lead qualification as part of the lead generation effort. This can be done by:
- Adding simple questions such as time horizon to purchase in lead questionnaires.
- Generating greater interest in an offering with free resources; remember that a qualified lead must first and foremost be ready and willing to buy before he or she can become a prospect.
- Letting those who are likely to refer you to future sales leads know who your ideal customers are before the referral chain is set in motion.
Prevent Lost Leads with Lead Nurturing Early in the Pipeline
A lost lead can be an expensive preposition if that lead was one of the better leads that sales people work so hard to find. Many times lost leads occur because of a lack of time created by lower quality leads or because of uncertainty on whether certain categories of captured leads are truly the better leads that sales people want to work first. Organizations can help sales people prevent lost leads and free time to work on high quality leads by ensuring that customer relationship management systems are updated accurately and frequently with lead assignments that eliminate uncertainty about who should be working on which leads, and when.
Sales people can advance this effort by prioritizing lead nurturing early in the pipeline. With a low-pressure lead nurturing approach to sales, a sales person can focus on developing a client relationship rather than a sale, which makes better leads more comfortable with the prospect of getting to know a sales person and the offerings and organization he or she represents. Taken together, these tactics can all help sales people create more and better leads that advance sales achievements.