That might have worked in the 90’s. It might have even worked 5 years ago. But it doesn’t work now.
Last year we surveyed over 5,500 sales professionals asking various questions about sales strategy including prospecting. 83% of all our respondents indicated they spend the majority of their time either Cold Calling or Cold Emailing to gain leads. Yet they also indicated the LEAST effective way (only 13% felt it was effective) to get prospects is exactly what they do the most of every day-COLD CALLING.
Forrester Research just reported :
- 78% of B2B buyers start their research for products online
- Who needs a Sales Rep to just give them information?
- 200 million Americans have registered for the FTC’s “Do Not Call List”.
- You just eliminated 2/3rds of your prospect list
- 91% of B2B buyers have unsubscribed to a company email they had previously opt-In
- Only 9% keep hanging around viewing sales ads
- 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through the company blog.
- The new way to spark awareness!
- 41% of b2b companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.
- Social media is the new cold call
- Harvard Business School reports World Class Sales Organization Top Focus for 2012 is Lead Generation and Demand Generation Training for their Sales Reps
Why do sales people bang their head against the wall each day trying to generate leads the most ineffective way?
ANSWER: Their Sales Managers don’t pay attention or properly train how to effectively generate leads. They still have the mentality that prospecting is really the only Lead Generation a rep can do consistently and quantity is far better than quality. They spend 96% of their time solely focused on the sales process and pipeline volume instead of leads and lead management. Over 35% of all turnover is directly related to sales reps having to generate their own leads. (Having a bad sales manager is number 1)
Three ways a sales manager can INSTANTLY improve their sales reps effectiveness in Lead Generation:
- Separate Prospecting from the Sales Process.
- In an average Sales Strategy, typically at the front of sales process is a bucket called prospecting. The sales manager and sales management include this bucket into their sales process and train sales reps how to make a cold call and use the telephone effectively. That’s it. Wait: All the sales reps gets is how to handle an objection on the phone and use the STAR method of cold calling?
- Lead Generation, in which prospecting is one component, needs to be separated from sales. It is a different process and needs to be trained accordingly. It no longer can be just ‘swept’ into the front of the process or solely delegated to marketing because of the increasing difficulty. And it is no longer just cold calling. It involves creating demand in the market. Stimulating awareness. Obtaining strong referrals and using social media to spark interest. The cold call is dead. Bury it, create a process around sales rep lead generation and start generating quality leads.
- Lead Qualification.
- Last decade, if you fogged the mirror, you were a good lead. No longer. Your sales reps need to understand what is and what is NOT a good lead. Start with the best practice of using B.A.N.T. Before a lead can enter your sales process, they must meet a series of criteria including at a minimum 2 out of 4 B.A.N.T. Don’t know what B.A.N.T. is? (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing).
- Time Management.
- Lead Generation is not something you ‘get around to doing’. Nor should it be more than 30% of any sales reps time spent. Sales Managers hire sales people to take a lead through your sales process and generate an invoice. You should not hire them to spend 80% of their time out prospecting. If they do, fire half your sales force and hire an equal amount of Lead Development Reps at 25% of the price. They will generate 3x the amount of leads your sales people produce and you will double your revenue. Get your best people focused on their centers of competency. Get them doing what you paid them to do.
Over 86% of the companies we consult have little to no lead generation program for their sales reps. Yet over 90% of the revenue gets generated from leads the sales reps create. Teach them not how to prospect but how to generate demand. Talk to some of our clients. They can tell you why their sales are up 31% while their costs are down over 28%. It doesn’t have to be every rep for themselves. Stop listening to Bruce Springsteen, stream some music from Pandora and get into the 2010’s. Your sales reps will be glad you did.