Just about every single time I have seen a company’s sales slump or slow down I can go back to the sales cycle duration, and see a corresponding slump in leads or prospects.
Is it really that simple?
Well, yes, probably.
Sales is a numbers game – It’s all about the numbers.
If you have a big funnel at the top (lots of leads), generally the size of the funnel at the bottom will be big (lots of sales). But if the top of your funnel is narrow, you better be really efficient at closing or you are not going to have as many sales.
But of course it’s not just about leads, it’s about all the metrics or numbers at each stage of the sales cycle. These numbers are often referred to as “leading indicators”.
Knowing the numbers you need each month for each stage of the sales cycle and driving the team (or, even better, training a team to drive themselves) to achieve those numbers leads to a happier and more productive place.
But, back to lead generation….
Are you getting the right leads in the right way?
Obviously every company is different. And I can’t give you an answer that question from where I am, but this is a fundamental area of sales to get right. If what you are doing right now is not working, you need to apply a lot of brainpower to figuring it out – and fast.
This is where it all starts. As Aaron Ross says in his very good book Predictable Revenue, it all starts with lead generation, but there is more to it than that. It’s worth a read.
Do you cold call? Where are you finding those leads? And what does your target prospect look like? Have you got that clear definition of who to ‘go after’?
If you're cold calling and telling the prospect who you are ... what your company does ... that you’d like some of their time, I’d guess you will not be that successful.
They don’t care!
You need to be calling and asking them a question they do care about. I call it disruptive prospecting.
If you can get through to them (and this is becoming an even harder “if” as time goes by but at least in New Zealand and Australia most business people still do pick up the phone) , your first question needs to be one where they really care about the answer...
“if I could show you how to lift your existing sales team’s revenue by 20%, could I have 20 minutes of your time?”
“If I told you your company is on a list to be cyber attacked, could I get 20 minutes of your time?”
“If I can show you how to reduce your wage cost in your Contact Center, and answer the same, or a greater number of calls, can I have 20 minutes of your time?”
What do you think the answer to each one of these questions is?
“How do you do that?” BINGO… we’ve got their attention, because these things are what the Sales Leader, CIO or Customer Service leader thinks about all the time.
This method (which I first started using back in the 90’s after hearing Brian Tracy demonstrate it) gets appointments. Following the same logic as the much more recent Disruptive Selling model, it ‘shatters their calm’. It can and should be used with all methods of getting in front of prospects.
Whether it’s at :
- Networking functions
- Trade Shows
- By referral ( from other prospects or customers)
- From reading publications or news sites
- From your own webinars
- Calling lists from LinkedIn (Hopefully you’re using Sales Navigator)
Or as a consequence of (what Aaron Ross calls Cold calling 2.0) a digital marketing campaign.
This is my current favourite and, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably engaged with one of our campaigns. We use email and social media to serve content to nurture and educate prospects through themes that apply to them. This gives them a good understanding of the topic, of what their needs might be, and it ensures they know who we are, before we try to contact them. This requires some tools and skills (Hubspot as an example of a tool and Hype & Dexter as an example of an Auckland based agency with skills), and some input to build the informed content.
A broad content offering that is designed to engage the right people will ensure that the top of your funnel is always encouraging and nurturing new leads.
So, are you generating enough leads?
How good is the top of your sales funnel right now? (Let’s leave conversion out of it for now as it can be a whole other ball game!) Are you getting the right volume through it to be able to meet your targets?
And are you making the most of the prospect when you contact them, by getting their attention immediately?
And do you and your team know the metrics required for all stages of the sales process so you can ‘manage by the numbers’?
Have you got a broad but market specific offering that constantly and consistently generates and nurtures new leads?
If you’re not asking these things and coming up with the right answers, you are not probably not making your targets and you will have team members who are underperforming. And that won’t do!
So start by asking these questions, and thinking about the answers. If you can come up with the right ones, you will start to see an improvement.
Still struggling? Indicator has many solutions to not only generate more leads, but also to convert them better. Joining our Sales Syndicate would be an ideal way to start finding out more.