There are good leads and not so good leads. Many times, you instinctively know the difference. Other times, you’re completely surprised by the results.
You spend a lot of money and time to generate these unpredictable results.
The leads your sales team pursues is the fuel in your sales engine. Right now, you’re pouring all sorts of different types of fuel into the tank. Premium, Plus, Regular, Deisel, etc.
No wonder the results are unpredictable. No wonder it seems like parts of the sales engine just are performing the way they should.
In the first 4 installments of our “Double Your Sales in 2009”, we’ve covered setting the “qualification bar” high enough that sales time is focused on the highest value customers, knowing the return on your investment in sales time and expense at each step in your process and holding your team accountable for following the process you design. Click here to start with “Qualify Early and Often”, the first installment.
When you’re pouring all sorts of different types of leads into the engine, it just makes good sense to try and filter out the bad ones before they go too far. Making the adjustments described in the earlier installments of “Double Your Sales in 2009” will increase sales. No question about it.
What if you could ensure that you’re pouring only the best kinds of leads into the tank in the first place? That’s what I call Turbo Charging Your Sales Engine. Now that you’ve tuned the engine for high performance, let’s stop putting regular gas in. Let’s pour in some jet fuel and really take off!
Obviously, you would have already done this if you could. What’s holding you back? Most often its the fact that you get sales leads from multiple different sources and the results vary widely from lead to lead even within one single lead source. In other words, you’re cold calling, you’re going to trade shows, you do some direct mail and you promote your website and the quantity and quality vary widely from month to month as well as the cost. Its very difficult to measure each source of leads objectively. Especially if you’re not following a system of qualifying each lead consistently as discussed in our earlier installments.
However, if you ARE qualifying or disqualifying each lead consistently, tracking those results lead by lead and holding your team accountable doing it all as you have designed, then you are only one last step away from putting that jet fuel in their engine!
In our last installment, we talked about setting a simple means for your sales reps to easily record the answers to their qualification questions for each and every lead. Click here to read “Set the Mustangs Free”.
If you’re collecting this information, you can analyze it from the standpoint of things that matter most in your business. If you’re asking each lead how many widgets the purchase each year, then in a few weeks you’ll begini to see exactly where your sweet spot is… Your close rate will be highest for leads that purchase a certain number of widgets.
All you need to do now is add one more piece of data to the puzzle. For each lead, track where it came from. That’s it. Too simple right? Well the trick here is that you’re combining the information about where the lead came from with more specific information gathered by the sales team when qualifying the leads.
Now you have all the information you need to do three very powerful things:
- Find your sweet spot – # of widgets, # of employees, current supplier, etc. and find sources of leads that better match that sweet spot.
- Redirect your marketing dollars and cold calling efforts toward leads that are more often qualified and purchase most often.
- Create low investment means of responding to and nurturing leads from sources that aren’t the best match for you.
You may feel like you have a pretty good feel for your sweet spot and which lead sources perform best instinctively. The difference here is that by truly measuring the information, you’ll KNOW. And I probably don’t have to tell you how wide the gulf is between a gut feeling and knowing. All of the sudden, you’re empowered to make decisions confidently. This is very important because some of your gut instincts are wrong. Its tough to go against your instincts unless the facts are overwhelming. In addition, your sales team has their own instinctive feel for what’s working and what’s not. You’re going to need to convince them too. Nothing works better than the unequivocal facts.
Here are a couple of things to expect: Almost without fail, I’ve seen companies blown away by how poorly some of their most costly marketing efforts peform when measured objectively. It could be your website, it could be the trade shows you go to or it could be your cold calling. You will be surprised to find that one of the sources of the most leads, and maybe even the most sales, actually provides a lower percentage of leads that are truly qualified and purchase than most of the others. In addition, some of the sources of leads that you feel are “less important” will turn out to be providing a much higher rate of qualified, close-able leads than most of the others.
This is where the jet fuel comes from! You’re going to stop spending money and time on the poorly performing lead sources and start spending more money and time on the high performance lead sources. This won’t be an easy transition but, you’ll be armed with the facts to confidently move forward.
It still amazes me how huge the amount of marketing resources that can be retargeted usually is. All you’ve got to do is take that first step and start tracking what happens. The facts will begin to speak for themselves. Your total marketing expenditure doesn’t have to change at all. You’re going to sell more without spending an extra dime. Now that’s an offer you can’t refuse!
Let’s go back to the beginninig and review the entire process from start to finish:
Define questions that indicate the “qualification” of any lead and ask every lead right up front before you invest lots of time and money in them.
Create guidelines for what makes it worthwhile to take each step in the sales dance with each prospect.
Teach everyone on your team to say no to prospects unless they are sure that the investment of their time and your money will yield the desired result.
Make it easy for sales reps to track what happens with each lead, the answers to your qualification questions and the sales activities invested in. Hold them accountable for following the process by sharing the results of this tracking with the team.
Track the source of each lead and redirect marketing efforts and investments toward the lead sources that generating the most frequently qualified and close-able leads.
This process does not have to take months. If you start today, within 30 days you’ll begin to see improvements in relationships with the most valuable sales prospects and you’ll begin to see where your marketing investments should be realigned.
There is no reason that 2009 can’t be the best year you’ve ever had. Your selling process is about to turn into a high performance selling machine. Wasted time and money will be minimized and your sales team will be focused on the best possible opportunities more often.
In just a few days, we’ll release the entire “Double Your Sales in 2009” series as one comprehensive e-Book. Don’t forget to register to receive the entire “Double Your Sales in 2009” series as an e-Book here.