October 11th 2007

The long term sales view. Are you effective as well as efficient? Part 1 of a series

As a long time sales guy, I know that I have a very high chance of closing a sale if the
prospect calls me. Over the years I have worked with many different sales systems to help
move along the client to this point. Lead generation programs seemed to provide me
with the wrong people, or it was way too early to talk to them, while others had limited buying
power if any, or they needed much more info to get into the sales cycle. But I would duly
plug them into the process and work, work, work  on moving them resulting in maybe overall total close
rates of 10-15% once you looked at the entire funnel. It just seemed to me that there was
so much waste. My selling was efficient, but I had not that much effective selling time.

A few years ago we started really looking at the marketing role- lead generation end. We
approached things differently by being very attentive to learning much more about the
target, how they buy including what they need at various places/times on the buying path, and
how those messages need to be crafted. As we got better at this we noticed that more
targets were putting up their hands saying, “Talk to me”. Sales cycles were shortening;
close rates were increasing, and sales commissions were rising. We were giving sales
folks more effective selling time.

From this we have built the lead generation portion of Precision Sales and Marketing . In the lead gen area
we look after the segmentation of targets, the offer(s), positioning, messaging wherever you can be seen
by a prospect, lead generation campaigns and the hand off of the “sales-ready” leads to
the sales force.

As clients have staff ready to take this lead gen program over we train them
in running and improving the system. Those leads which are just not “ready’ yet do not get
tossed, but they do not plug up the sales men’s time. These leads are put into a low cost
“prospect nurturing “program that is run as a marketing activity to encourage the leads to start to
make buyer like activities until they literally put up their hands to be talked to.

Lead generation is one of four marketing roles  in the Precision Sales and Marketing program . In future posts I will explain the other roles, Sales Support,  Prospect Nurturing  and the Customers for Life. I started with lead generation as it is becoming very topical in sales and marketing leadership, there are some terrific tools to help us yet it is still very poorly done in 99% of companies. Much of the waste in sales and marketing we find starts here.

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