(reading time: 4 minutes)
Having a sales team that has nothing to do, is a big problem in sales.
You may have a rockstar sales team that can sell ice to eskimos, but if they don’t have anyone to call, then crushing your team quota will be impossible.
The Lead Problem
Let’s look mathematically at why leads are so important.
Let’s say you have a 1 million dollar goal. If your team’s average deal size is $10,000, then they need to close 100 deals to hit your target.
Now let’s say their win rate is 40%, so to reach 100 won deals, they would have to have 250 good opportunities that result to the proposal stage in their pipeline.
So how many leads does your team need then? Industry standards say about 25% of leads reach the proposal stage. Working back even farther, that means your team needs 1,000 leads to hit the 250 proposal target.
And in this example, that’s the baseline of what you need to be delivering to hit goal. If your deal size is lower that quarter, or win rates are down, you’ll have to provide even more leads if you want to stay on track.
What, Really, is a Lead?
In most sales organizations, marketing and sales work closely together to generate leads. But there is sometimes a disconnect between the two departments on how they define a lead.
For the sales team, they have a buyer profile of who would be an ideal candidate to buy the product or service they are selling. They have looked at current customers, and clients of their competition to formulate a vision of their perfect prospect. Sales knows that determining who your prospective buyer is will allow them to hone in on more qualified leads, giving them a better chance at success in closing those deals.
For marketing, they define a lead as anyone who MAY have the qualities of an ideal buyer. It’s not necessarily a good fit, but it’s a person to call.
Let’s say you are selling garden hoses. It’s kind of the difference between just randomly calling companies in a phone book and asking if they want to carry your brand of hose, versus calling companies only listed under “Garden Supplies” section. The first strategy would be the equivalent of a marketing lead – the company MAY meet your criteria and be interesting in buying garden hoses, but the second tactic is more directive – you are only calling companies that fit into your ideal buyer persona.
How to Generate More (and Better) Leads
1) Create your ideal buyer profile
Have sales and marketing get together and make sure everyone is on the same page as far as who you want to be targeting. Sit down and identifying qualities you need each and every lead to have. Jot down general information about the companies you currently have deals with – their size, industry, priorities. And also note specific information about the contacts you have had success with – their role, years with the company, etc. Talk about who in the company you are selling to that receives the greatest benefits of your product or service, and make sure you are trying to target that particular job title.
2) Proactively build out the best list
There are many services out there that you can pay to get a targeted list of leads. You can either buy a list from a list broker, or use a software like ZoomInfo. Ask for a list of 5,000 contacts that you can then email and call. Set specific parameters around the geographical area you are selling to, the title of the contact, size of company, etc. Also be sure to get all contact information, including any links to social media (e.g. LinkedIn profile) that can help you gain insight into who you are calling and let’s you build rapport quickly.
3) Drive the right traffic to your site
Once you have a deeper understanding of your prospect’s pain points, you can then work to tailor a message that specifically address those issues. Have your copywriters write CTAs(Calls to Action) that mention the problems your company can help solve. You need the messaging on your website to be targeting the right customers, so they are coming into your sales team as pre-qualified leads. You don’t just want anyone clicking on a link – you want their right people to be!
4) Ask questions on intake forms
If possible, have your call to action include a form that any prospect needs to fill out to come into your system. Have it ask about role, industry, size of company – anything that will help you determine if they fit your ideal buyer profile. Then only have those leads go directly to the sales team. Maybe just run a marketing email campaign at the rest. Don’t let your sales team waste their time on the wrong leads.
5) Use technology to help generate and pre-qualify leads
If someone visits your website, you should try to engage with them right off the bat. Pop-up boxes using artificial intelligence can spark conversation with a site visitor to pre-qualify them as a potential lead. AI technology converses with online prospects in a natural, human sounding way, and can therefore ask the appropriate questions to determine if they are a sales worthy lead.
6) Run ads on Facebook and LinkedIn
Spending money on leads is a necessary part of any organization’s budget. But where should you invest? Targeted ads on Facebook and LinkedIn seem to still have successful results in bringing in solid leads. Not only can you set very specific parameters on who you want to see your ads, but you can also cap your budget on these sites, and stop under-performing ads at any time.
7) Swap content with companies in the same realm
I’m not talking about calling up your direct competition and asking them to run a blog about how awesome your company is. We know that isn’t going to work. But if you’re in software, look at companies in the general IT realm that have a good reader base, and ask if you can do a blog swap with them. Make sure you are offering them an equally beneficially opportunity. You can get some good leads back to your company’s website through links as a guest blogger.
Taking the Lead on Leads
Once you have leads coming in, it’s your job as a manager, to keep your reps on the phone and touching base with each and every lead.
Did you know…
- Only 25% of leads are good enough to advance to sales.
- It takes an average of 8-12 attempts before you reach a prospect on the phone.
- Sadly, 44% of salespeople give up after just one follow-up.
- And 80% of prospects say no four times before they say yes.
So what does this mean for you?
As a sales leader, you have to find ways to help your team stay motivated to make their calls, and also utilize technology, such as Spiro, that can help them dial with ease, and know who to call next.
Also published on Medium.