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February 10, 2014

Are You Wasting Your Time on the Wrong Leads?

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor


We’ve all been there. After talking with a contact for weeks, we go in for the sale just to discover that the person can’t really make the decision. Or they are not really serious, even though they love talking about the issue you are trying to solve with your solution.


The ability to know early enough when we are barking up the wrong tree is at the crux of the difference between top sellers and those who need a little help, according to Bob Apollo, CEO of Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners.

“I’ve conducted a number of sales pipeline reviews over the past year, and there’s often a dramatic difference between a top performer’s opportunity profile and the pipelines of the sales people that are struggling to make quota,” Apollo wrote recently in a blog post.

“Here’s what I’ve learned: the top performers value their time too highly to invest it in opportunities that are never likely to close, whilst weaker performers often hang on to every possible deal for fear that qualifying them out will make their pipeline look smaller,” he added.

But how to know which leads are best?

Turning leads into sales requires three keys, basically. A salesman needs to choose the right organization for starters. Then it must find the right person within that organization, and know the right issue to focus on.

“In my experience, simply agreeing on demographics (size, sector, location) is rarely enough,” noted Apollo. “When you really dig into it, when you look at the deals you have won and lost, I’d be prepared to eat my hat if structural, behavioral, environmental and situational factors are not more important in your markets.”

To make those sales, you need to know which companies most need the product or service, and which people can make that happen.

But to turn a lead into a sale also requires finding the right issue to focus on. There are issues that people are interested in. There are important issues that get people engaged. Then there are critical issues that absolutely must be handled. It is that person with a critical issue and the budget to solve it that should be the focus.

Technology can help, too. Since transforming leads into sales is a critical component of every business, companies such as VanillaSoft have developed sales tools that facilitate finding those most important leads.

The CRM solution by VanillaSoft, for instance, has built-in lead management, sales automation and next-best lead routing. Harnessing the analytics power of the VanillaSoft system, it helps customers automatically prioritize which callers should be dialed first based on those from the list most likely to generate a positive outcome.

There’s no magic bullet when it comes to sales. At the end of the day, sales is an art as much as a science. But science can help, too, as lead generation software shows. 
 


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