How to avoid those poor sales leads was the essence of a sales problem being discussed over at the LinkedIn Group Sales training Execution. What was truly fascinating was the variety of definitions for a “qualified sales lead.” There was the old suspect, prospect, qualified prospect and even opportunity all being actively discussed.
Yet only after numerous comments did the real problem appears and that was the inconsistency in that definition of what qualified sales leads means within an organization. This kinda of reminded me of some of the sales leads I received when I actively participated in referral networking groups. Most could have been taken from the phone book. These truly were not potential referrals customers nor would they increase sales, but rather someone trying to make his or her referral quota numbers.
In the perfect world, only truly qualified sales leads would be actively pursued to increase sales as directed from the research within the strategic plan. However the world is not perfect and in many cases those who have not power to buy right now, may have power to buy or make a recommendation in the future. Hence, it truly does not make sense to cut off one’s nose to despite one’s face as the old expression goes.
Maybe by changing how we look at sales leads, we can change our results. What would happen if time was divided into the following salesperson’s time buckets:
- Bucket #1 – 50% for truly qualified by the organization’s definition?
- Bucket #2 – 20% for partially qualified by the organization’s definition?
- Bucket #3 – 10% in genuine prospecting new opportunities based upon current market, social, innovation trends?
- Bucket #4 – 20% in reconnecting with existing customers?
From my experience in working with small business owners with sales under $50 million, in many cases the problem is not poor sales leads, poor sales skills or inadequate sales, but rather poor marketing. There is too much of a hurry to “close the sale.” Sales Training Coaching Tip: Marketing is not selling.
If marketing is about attracting attention and building the relationship (please forget that notion of building rapport nonsense), then maybe poor sales leads, again, are not the real problem. Possibly the sales process is flawed or there may be the wrong people in the right seats or the right people in the wrong seats.
Not everyone a salesperson meets is a genuine solid sales lead. However these individuals can be good referring partners or centers of influence.
Maybe it is time to rethink how you look at your sales leads.
Who knows, you actually may even increase sales and wouldn’t that be a good thing?