I admit it. These days I sound like Clint Eastwood in the iconic movie Gran Torino yelling “You kids, GET OFF MY LAWN!”. I am just so tired of hearing sales people and organizations complain endlessly about the lack of leads. Whether it’s that marketing doesn’t generate enough leads or that the leads they do generate are lousy, it’s all the same—it’s just whining. Sound familiar?
Here’s the thing: You actually have plenty of leads. What you really need are opportunities. And opportunities are absolutely not dependent on leads.
Let me explain…
The biggest challenge companies face is finding quality sales opportunities and converting those opportunities to revenue. It has nothing to do with leads.
“Well Mike, how can you say that? I only got 2 leads from marketing in that past 90 days. That isn’t enough! Marketing is failing me! And leads they get me are the worst. How can I make my number without leads?”
I hear you loud and clear but let’s first examine your request for “leads”.
What is a lead?
There are lots of different sources of leads, but if you think about it, there are only two types of leads in the world (besides good ones and bad ones!). There are:
- Leads that have expressed an interest in you (these are website visitors, whitepaper downloads, trade show attendees, hand-raisers etc.).,
- Leads you have expressed an interest in selling to, such as ideal client profile (a.k.a. target) accounts.
Many (average to below average) sales reps wait around for #1. While they complain that these “inbound” leads are crappy, they call them nonetheless and blame marketing when they fail to convert. .
If this is the case with you or your team, try this little exercise.
Ask those same reps to write down the names of 20 companies that fit your sweet spot. These should be ones that your reps would like to do business with and who are likely to be struggling with the very business pains and challenges that your solution solves.
Guess what? Even if these same 20 companies are not consciously aware that your solution exists, that rep just generated 20 really outstanding leads!
Who’s responsible for lead qualification?
Let’s assume now that you have a host of really good leads, whether inbound or identified/generated by sales. So who is responsible for qualifying them and developing them into an opportunity? Is that marketing? Sales? Business Development?
The answer is “the sales rep”. (But you knew that, right?)
That is the person with the quota and the accountability to bring in revenue. And unless your sales reps are 100% immersed in current sales cycles (which I doubt), then they need to be part of the solution. Managers need to hold their reps, and reps alone, accountable for their pipeline. If it’s drying up, simply waiting for leads to hit the inbox is unacceptable—active prospecting is critical to generating the opportunities needed.
To focus solely on leads as the source of the pipeline problem is narrow-minded and quite honestly, a poor attempt to ‘pass the buck’. And that makes me grouchy. And it should make you, the manager, grouchy too.
Help is available
Would it surprise you if I said that most sales reps avoid prospecting like the plague? I didn’t think so. Negative images of ‘cold calling’ and repeated personal rejection dominate their thoughts and prevent them from reaching out to those who may desperately need their product or service.
Fortunately, your reps aren’t on their own in figuring out the most effective way to reach prospects. Enter FRONTLINE Selling. We help sales organizations create authentic sales conversations that matter. We have been doing this for almost 20 years. We have studied millions upon millions of outreach efforts and perfected a process for engaging your target market and securing Meaningful Interactions for your sales team.
We can help your Marketing and Sales teams create more opportunities – which is way better than simply creating more leads.