In Do Not Hire That Sales Rep I suggested that when replacing a sales person that was not making the grade there could be a better way to use those sales expense dollars to achieve the revenue target. Instead, we find that investing more into the sales team members that are making the plan greatly increases your likelihood of success – and provides a huge positive motivational impact to your team.
Where to invest? Consider linking in-bound and out-bound lead generation programs with sales intelligence tools that help identify when a prospect is a sales ready lead. This kind of lead management and analytics can make your team far more effective and allow them to focus their limited time on high probability targets. Getting there requires focus and collaboration of both sales and marketing leaders. Both groups need to rely on each other for action and the necessary feedback needed for course corrections as the program matures. The tasks below will help you set a course for success.
The first step in the process is to develop a target prospect list. This seems simple enough but many of the firms we work with truly believe that everyone in the universe is a prospect. One way to avoid this mistake is to develop a prospect sweet spot matrix. Look at your existing client base and determine why those clients are a good fit with your organization. Is your success based on client size, vertical market or industry, a special need or situation where your firm excels?
Once you have completed this exercise you can then build a realistic target list. Prospect lists can be purchased from a variety of sources such as InsideView, Hoovers, Genius.com and several other companies. Many of these tools have excellent features and functionality and can really accelerate the research process. Be aware that these lists compile information from several sources and although generally accurate, additional research is often needed to confirm names and contact information. We believe it is a best practice to outsource the list verification process, as using your sales people to do this work is a very expensive way to accomplish this task!
Now that you have an accurate target list it’s time to get selling, right? Rather than turn the sale force loose on low probability cold calling we suggest a far more effective model. Implementing an in-bound and out-bound lead generation process provides your team with sales ready qualified prospects and also nurtures those targets that may become buyers in the future.
When implementing this process think about these critical components:
- Messaging and value propositions specific to the buyers in your target list
- Lead nurturing programs to keep your firm ‘top of mind” with your prospects
- Automated lead management tools that determine what clients are really interested in and how to engage with them in an effective manner
Next, we’ll expand on best practices for lead generation and lead management tools that will supercharge your sale efforts!