Sales Lead Generation for Sales People – An Overview

Let’s be honest – the entire business world has changed except for sales . Pick up any book on selling and you’ll see the same advice and tactics taught at the turn of the century – the 19th Century. Companies like National Cash Register, IBM, and Hartford Insurance implemented selling systems for prospecting, cold calling, presentations and closing that are used to this day.

Of course, there have been changes over the years. We became ‘Strategic Sellers” and then “Solution Sellers”. We learned “Spin Selling” and “Value Based Selling”. While all these models worked for their time they were still based in an analog world and for selling in a robust economy.

It’s a New World for Sales Lead Generation

The world has gone digital and the economy certainty isn’t robust or prosperous. People use smart phones, voice mail and  email to communicate. Customers no longer call sales people to find out about the product and service they need – or the venders who can provide them  – they use Google.

Add to that the perfect storm of hyper-competition, over supply and reduced demand and you’ve described the exact environment  salespeople must sell into today. That is the New Economy and we must learn how to effectively sell into it. Otherwise our companies will go broke and we’ll have skinny kids. Fortunately there are some answers.

The key is to understand that buyers no longer need sales people for information. They have the Internet and more importantly they have each other. The Internet is not only where customers have found our whitepapers, brochures, and product information but also found each other. Through forums, review sites and trade organizations customers decide what they need,  establish their own  requirements and typically only call salespeople when they need a quote or a price. Social Networking on the Internet using sites liked Facebook and LinkedIn has become the prevalent way prospects find out about and select their venders.

Which is why traditional prospecting no longer works.

Very often customers have little reason to see salespeople. We no longer have the excuse of giving them product updates. Buyers can do so much of their investigation online, they no longer see the need for interacting with salespeople. Business people, especially those with buying authority are overworked, over scheduled and overloaded. Getting in to see a customer has become the single biggest obstacle in making a sale . Every day a salesperson tells me “I know I can sell if I just had someone to sell too”.

So is there an answer?

While the challenge of getting into see customers has become more difficult it is not impossible. Even in a down economy, Apple has sold 100 million dollars worth of iPads this year alone. So someone is always buying. The secret to Selling in the New Economy is also driven by the Internet. We’ll learn about the tools and strategies that we can use as professional salespeople to get prospects to open their doors and hear our proposals.

Sales Lead Generation must become you number one priority. If it is done properly, lead generation is the key to selling more on a consistent basis.

Sales Lead Generation is Job 1

The symptoms of weak sales funnels are easy to see.

  • Opportunities left in our pipeline long after we know that the sale was lost
  • Pumped up forecasts for our bosses instead of accurate sales funnels
  • Accepting deals on any terms just to get the business, even unprofitable ones
  • More hours worked with diminishing results and increased stress

Successfully growing your sales funnel and the number of qualified opportunities you’re selling into solves each of those issues. It makes selling fun again! Meeting with people, interacting with them and actually selling are the fun parts of the job. Sales Lead Generation doesn’t have to be difficult or based on cold calling, especially B2B Lead Generation.

Companies do not typically provide enough qualified sales leads for their salesforce. So, if you need the job done you’re going to have to do it yourself.  Unfortunately, many of the ideas taught as lead generation for salespeople are really management and marketing ideas – impossible for an on the street customer facing salesperson to use.

This is just the introduction to the topic of Sales Lead Generation

This is just the introduction to B2B Lead Generation and you can read more at the following links:
Click Here to See Part 1 of Sales Lead Generation – An Overview
Click Here to See Part 2 – Getting in the Door
Click Here to See Part 3 – The 4 Principles of Sales Lead Generation
Click Here to See Part 4 of Sales Lead Generation – The Right People with the Right Message

If you’d like to get the full video training on Sales Lead Generation, including the book that comes with it, simply enter your contact information below and tell me where you want me to email the free sales training materials.

Russ Emrick

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