As a sales rep early in my career I received leads from manufacturer reps that were almost always a complete waste of time. Sound familiar?
As Sales Processes have evolved, so have Lead Generation Efforts
The same way that sales leaders have had to adapt to remain successful, so have the efforts of Lead Generation. World class sales organizations have revolutionized Lead Generation. This includes robust Demand Generation with content marketing and lead sourcing early in the buying process. As prospects early in the buying process begin to interact with your company, there are new Lead Management processes to transform cold inquiries to warm leads. This is done by nurturing through marketing automation and personal contact by Lead Development Representatives. For many companies, the days of bad leads are over.
Your Responsibility as a Sales Leader is to Conquer
Your company has either evolved or is dragging its feet in the area Lead Generation. If you company hasn’t evolved, then you have a responsibility to put a fire under someone’s tail to wake them up. Don’t miss the rewards from adopting best practices for Lead Generation to fill your pipeline with more quality opportunities. Chances are your company is in the midst of an evolution. You as a sales leader are instrumental in how successful Lead Generation ultimately becomes for your sales force. There are 7 guiding principles to follow when approaching Lead Generation to drive organization excellence.
7 Guiding Principles for Sales Leaders to Approach Lead Generation
- Right Expectation – It’s a best practice to formally define leads between sales and marketing. World class firms have shifted away from appointment setting. Instead focus on generating demand that results in prospects that have engaged and qualified at some level of need. A good lead therefore is one that is worth investing time developing into an opportunity. It’s NOT a prospect who is ready for your reps to zoom in and close a deal, but rather someone who is a fit, has been qualified for some level of need, and is ideal for engagement by the sales rep.
- Provide Concise and Specific Lead Feedback – Don’t let your reps throw mud by giving negative feedback without specific details. Be tough with feedback. Provide specific details on why leads were not good. Coach on what makes a great lead. Continuous feedback between the individual rep and the contact providing the leads is required for success.
- Celebrate Success – When you find a great lead, provide accolades to the contact providing you the leads reinforcing specifically what made it a great lead.
- Leverage Nurturing for Demand Generation – Recognize that what makes a great sales rep is a hunter instinct to produce results. Demand Generation efforts will drive inquiries and prospects early in the buying process. In a complex b2b sale, pressure to qualify too early in the process can be detrimental. Companies with Lead Development Representatives and Marketing Automation have the capability to offer resources and build a rapport. This planned cadence speeds up the overall buying process to accelerate momentum to a formal sales lead.
- Resist choking the Golden Goose – As lead generation efforts increase in success; resist the urge to increase the short-term quantity of leads to the sales force by lowering the criteria for when a lead passes off to the sales rep. Allow best practices in lead management to work for your sales force. Don’t prematurely pull under-developed prospects that aren’t ready into the sales rep’s call plans.
- Return to Nurture – When your reps receive a lead that’s not ready or is non-responsive, then simply return the lead to nurture. Let the nurturing resources of lead generation work on your behalf to cultivate awareness, onto interest, through consideration. The reps will get pulled back in at the right time.
- Demand Excellence in Lead Generation – Building a best in class Lead Generation program requires dedicated resources and senior level support. Voice your expectations for the Lead Generation program so those responsible for implementation receive the support required for success.