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Sales Prospecting Perspectives

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Are Cold Call Lists Better Than Warm Ones?

I know many people who have turned to the world of online dating after failed attempts at meeting someone through more traditional methods.  They have all been pleasantly surprised by the results.  They had figured meeting someone online was more of a shot in the dark then going to bars or events where they knew single people frequented.  Yet online they can target exactly who they want to be set up with - and set up a profile so only people that match their ideal description will come up in their search.  Plus, for the most part, they know these individuals are serious about meeting someone.  Even though they originally thought that going to "singles night" at the local bar would be filled with people actively looking for their soul mate, they found it was less effective then proactively searching for someone through a dating site.  The same can be said about the results that you get from calling into what you feel is a "warm" list of leads vs. being proactive about prospecting into a targeted database of contacts.

When starting a new project, one of the first items often discussed is the list of prospects that our BDRs will be calling through.  Many times a client will say "we have a great list of marketing leads (i.e. - from a tradeshow/webinar/seminar) that our sales reps haven't had a chance to call through".   Often times we will start calling through this "warm" list only to discover that it is riddled with outdated leads, job seekers, consultants, and "Mickey Mouse" at 555-5555.  While there are undoubtedly qualified and interested prospects in these lists, it often doesn't yield the high lead rate that a client expects. 

Taking the “Out” Out of “Outsourced”

The other day I had a new client ask me "what do you think the number one thing is that makes a new project successful?"  I quickly replied, "When our client looks at us as an extension of their marketing and sales team and not as a vendor".  I went on to explain that when a client is engaged in our process and communicates their expectations then the outcome is a positive one for both parties.

Clients that are engaged in our process from the start of a project typically have the highest success rates.  We can create scripts and messaging, put together weekly reports, and provide visibility into our day to day operations, but if a client doesn't provide their own feedback on the leads we are generating and on the work that we are doing, then there is no way for us to refine and improve on what we are delivering.  I always encourage my clients to listen in on calls with their BDR or to role play with them so that they are comfortable and confident with the message that we are taking out to the marketplace.

Quality Over Quantity Includes Closing the Loop

As Americans, we often assume that more is better.  Just take a look at the portion sizes at restaurants - the amount of food that used to feed a family of four is now a single person's entrée.  We have come to expect more and we have come to expect it quickly.  This is the age of immediate gratification.  I worked at a fine dining restaurant in high school with an acclaimed chef at the helm.  It was near impossible to get a reservation at 8pm on a Saturday night and often times, even with a  reservation,  patrons would have to wait a few minutes before their table was ready - trust me, the wait was worth it.  I remember one particularly busy weekend night where it didn't seem like anyone was leaving their table - one customer was becoming quite impatient since they had been waiting 15 minutes past their reservation time.  They kept complaining to the owner until she finally turned around and said "if you are looking for fast food there is a McDonald's up the road".  The customer backed off and waited until his table was ready - he knew that a Big Mac, despite it being the faster option, was not the top-quality meal he had been looking forward to.

When I am training a new Business Development Rep I talk to them about the fact that generating leads is a numbers game, to a degree, but that our real focus is on the quality of the opportunities that we pass, not the quantity. Although you need to look at certain statistics like daily activity, connect rates and lead rates,  I also focus on another important aspect of the job - that it's not just about making phone calls, it's about making smart phone calls.  We talk about mapping an account, prospecting effectively and making sure you get at least one piece of qualification information on each call.  These strategies help us to qualify leads more thoroughly and only pass over prospects that truly have a need and the ability to purchase.  Sure, we could make 200 calls a day and push prospects to agree to a meeting with our client's sales team, but this approach yields a higher prospect "no-show" percentage and typically takes a longer time to make it to forecast.

Closing the Loop on the Time Sensitive Opportunity

So what happens to those leads that you generate where the sales rep has a good first call with the prospect and determines the account to be a solid fit...the only problem is that the prospect (for whatever reason) is not ready to purchase for 6-12 months.  The rep might even provide decent feedback initially (because now you have a feedback mechanism in place) so you feel good about the quality of what was passed only to check back 6 months later to discover nobody ever reached out to that prospect again and now the lead needs to be re-qualified (or worse yet you lost the deal to a competitor).

This leads me to another common reason why a lead doesn't get adequately followed up on...

Marketing and Sales Need to Agree on a Lead's Definition

We have been looking at some of the reasons why an organization's sales team doesn't, or won't, follow-up on the qualified opportunities that are being delivered to them.  This week I will talk more about another common obstacle (in fact one that folks like Robert Lesser have been discussing even as recently as last week) - the lack of definition around what a qualified lead looks like.

*The organization has not come up with a universal definition of what a "qualified" lead is*

How Do You Hold Sales Accountable for Leads Passed?


Last week I started talking about the common reasons why sales reps don't follow-up on the leads that marketing and inside sales provides.  Today I will look at the importance of soliciting feedback in a structured way and how to hold your sales reps accountable for following up on the leads that you are delivering to them.

Why Won't Sales Follow up on My Leads?


The age old complaint from marketing professionals and inside sales managers is inevitably that the organization's sales reps don't adequately follow-up on the leads that marketing has invested much time and money in developing.There are typically a few reasons for this:

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