Sales Lead Generation – by Christopher Ryan
I talk to a lot of B2B marketers, CEOs and business owners and get to hear about the difficulties they are experiencing in sales lead generation and management. These companies have a crying need to get sales leads in large quantities to feed their hungry sales forces. While every situation is unique, there are four problems that we see repeatedly:
- Insufficient quantity – the sales process works well and close rates are high but there aren’t enough sales leads coming into the top of the funnel. I talked to a business owner last week that has a 90 percent close rate but he is still struggling to get in front of enough prospects to make his numbers. This problem is addressed by a more aggressive lead generation program including social media to broaden the scope of outreach.
- Poor quality – sometimes the number of inbound leads (inquiries) is high but the quality and close rates are mediocre. Depending on the type of product or service, length of sales cycle and other factors, this problem is addressed by instituting a lead qualification process or re-addressing the value proposition and target audience, or both.
- Lousy lead management and metrics – Companies that do a good job of sales lead generation from both a quantity and quality standpoint can still fail to reach their potential if they don’t have a good process for managing sales leads at each step from initial inquiry through sales contract. This means that every phase is managed properly and you have the correct technology to capture, nurture and report on the progress of individual leads as well as all leads that you generate in a specific time period.
- Outdated methods – the b2b marketing and sales world has shifted dramatically over the past decade. Older lead generation techniques like direct mail, print advertising, trade shows, and so forth, have not been working as well as they once did. Perhaps it is time to broaden the mix to include newer social media techniques.
Whether you suffer from a numbers, quality, management, or outdated methods problem (or perhaps all four), it isn’t going to get better by itself. Fortunately, there are proven strategies and tactics that can get you back on the right path. For example, sales lead generation is addressed at some length in my new book Winning B2B Marketing. We also spend a lot of time on this at Fusion Marketing Partners. Learn more about how we do this at the FMP website.