Sales and marketing go hand-in-hand. Without leads, salespeople will have a hard time selling. Without marketing, salespeople will have a difficult time sharing their product and features with prospective clients.
But how much is too much? In this article, we discuss the difference between giving salespeople every lead and teaching them how to cultivate their leads to strengthen their pipelines and their careers as a whole.
I’m sure a majority of people have heard the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
This, of course, means it’s more worthwhile to teach someone to do something (for themselves) than to do it for them (on an ongoing basis).
Well, I’ve created a new proverb. A sales proverb, if you will:
“Give a salesperson a prospect, and you strengthen their pipeline for a day. Teach a salesperson to prospect, and you strengthen their pipeline for their career.”
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Several of the companies we partner with supply their new, or tenured, salespeople with leads consistently. In theory, this sounds great but it can cause problems in the long term. If you are feeding leads to your salespeople on a regular basis, we encourage you to continue to do so.
However, your salespeople can’t, and shouldn’t, rely on them as their main resource for potential business. They should be capable of replicating the process and generating their own opportunities. If they produce solely off of inbound marketing leads, the salesperson will just survive, and not thrive within your organization. If they don’t know how to effectively create, cultivate and generate leads, they will only do what is required of them to sell and close the leads they are given. They won’t try to uncover new opportunities and in the end, you, the sales manager, and the salesperson, will be disappointed with their performance.
And it’s not just a matter of teaching them how to prospect, but how to prospect effectively. Anyone can go out and get a list of names but how they contact those names, what they say, what questions they ask all play a role in effectively “fishing” for leads.
So how can you help your salespeople?
Start by setting a new lead expectation. Making it mandatory to produce fresh opportunities on a weekly basis will force your salespeople to go out and make the dials. Next, identify your “Zebra” or ideal prospect persona. For a better understanding of the concept and best practices on identifying “Zebras” watch this short Sales Guy Unplugged video. Don’t let your salespeople call on anyone other than those that fit the personas identified.
After, research the best ways to reach your ideal prospect. Is it via email or phone call? Is LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter their preferred social media platform? Knowing how and where to reach your target persona will positively impact your salespeople’s’ ability to hunt, qualify and discover potential new business.
A salesperson's job, although difficult to do, is not difficult to understand. There are 3 major components:
- Go out in the marketplace and uncover opportunities,
- Qualify those opportunities and close for the business.
- Don’t let your salespeople get by on just your internal leads — fishing for prospects is 33% of their job.
Need more help? Download our free E-Book “Why is Qualifying a Prospect so #%&@ Hard”. This book is packed with practical information that you can put into practice today to immediately increase your sales.
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