Generating leads is a key element to creating a pipeline of sales opportunities that
ultimately results (well, if you do your job well that is) in closed revenue. Without leads there are no sales. Without sales, you don’t have a business.
Buyers start the sales process without your salespeople 70-80% of the time, which makes it clear that today’s buyer has changed. Cold calling and spam emails have diminished in effectiveness, because 92% of buyers say that they merely “hit delete” when the email or call comes from someone that they do not know.
In a Digital Marketing Digest released by Silverpop, they say that “Buyers, fed up with crowded inboxes and irrelevant advertising noise, are shutting out content that isn’t relevant to them and using search and social to control their own buyer journeys.”
When seeking information, buyers today have unprecedented alternatives. The Internet and social networks afford them the freedom to search for options – without salespeople being involved, compare alternatives and ask for recommendations when seeking the products and solutions that will solve their business problems.
What’s a salesperson to do?
If you are looking to engage with prospects in today’s selling environment, you need to do two things: Leverage multiple channels and engage often, as well as answer the core questions that will tell you if you are speaking to a qualified buyer or not.
When you think about a multi- touch, multi-channel approach for prospecting and lead generation to create visibility, demonstrate credibility and provide value – how are you using email, the telephone, webinars, podcasts, curated content, LinkedIn groups, your referral network, Twitter or blogs to reach a broader base? Sales opportunities can flow to you in numerous ways.
And once you have that prospect in your sights, have you answered the core questions that determine if your buyer is truly motivated to buy or just kicking the tires?
If you haven’t answered the questions that follow, you’ll likely end up spinning your wheels:
- Is there some burning initiative inside the company that is driving this opportunity forward?
- Have they budgeted for the project?
- Where are they in the buying cycle?
- Are you sure they will decide in 30 days and not 3 months or more?
- How many people will be involved in the decision?
In the end, we all want more leads. Smart sellers will become more creative at generating them and faster at qualifying (or disqualifying) them. Your ability to do both will lead to less time spent with those prospects not ready to buy and more time focused on those that are!