Sales teams are obsessed with lead gen. We always want more leads and in less time than ever before. But the relentless appetite for leads might actually be doing more harm than good.
It’s pretty simple: More and better leads alone don’t guarantee success. And by dumping a ton of leads into your funnel without properly prospecting first, you run the risk of destroying the efficiency of your sales process.
This is particularly true if your prospecting efforts involve a “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” approach. You know the drill–get a high volume of unfocused leads, send them down the funnel, and hope that some of them pan out. In the end, your volume game slows down the sales process and increases the chances of churn if these ill-fitting prospects by some chance become customers.
It’s the same outcome when you’re working with a curated list of high-value targets from from a lead gen tool: treating that list like the 10k spray-and-pray type is just throwing money away.
Winning sales professionals do something different, though: They focus on doing more with fewer leads. (Shocking statement, I know.)
They prospect more strategically with the help of data as well as taking the time to understand their target account’s business challenges and then reach out at the right time. But as any salesperson knows, this takes time. And most of us have very little of that.
So, how can a modern salesperson work prospects the right way and maximize the efficiency of the sales process? Keep reading to find out.
Lead Gen Success Depends on Your Sales Stack
These days, most sales teams try to work leads with several different tools. They’ll prospect with one tool, switch back to another for email, copy and paste everything into their CRM, and then update with their calendar app. That’s a painful amount of context-switching and it takes a huge toll on attention-span and productivity.
If you really want to maximize the efficiency of every lead, you have to build a sales stack with the right tools and make the following goals a top-priority for your sales org:
- Reduce mental clutter around prospecting and lead management.
If you want to find more of the right prospects and customers, you have to be able to identify them. That requires reducing the mental clutter produced by sales activities to understand your leads and what they’re after. Comprehensive sales tools may be helpful in lightening the mental load so you can reach out with relevant information, at the right time.
- Accept that one touch (or two, or three) probably isn’t enough.
It’s easy for sales teams to forget about a lead after you haven’t heard back after the first outreach, and way easier after three attempts (research indicates that 80% of salespeople give up after three tries). But in reality, it can take five (!) attempts to get a yes out of your prospects.With that in mind, troubleshoot to see how you can further optimize your sales activities. Ask yourself if the messages you’re sending to a prospect are relevant to the challenges they face. Are you reaching out at the right time for the company? Have they been in the news a lot recently? If so, you may be competing with a much larger audience than you intended. Follow your target accounts and use company data to reach out at the right time.
- Prioritize targeted outreach over “gut feelings”.
If you’re following up with someone based on a “gut feeling” or strict schedule you created ages ago, stop. You need to follow up when prospects are actually engaged or you’re just sending irrelevant messages that probably annoy them. And you don’t want that.Find a tool that will help you track and manage sales outreach and if possible, also one that allows you to set sales triggers for specific events like a round of funding raised, employee headcount growth, or another variable. This will increase the likelihood that your outreach happens when prospects are most likely to listen. In fact, a similar tactic tested by an MIT professor found that getting in touch with leads within five minutes of a missed call increased the chance of connecting with them by 100%, and the chance of qualifying by 21%.
Scale Outreach to Your Target Accounts
All sales people are pressed for time, so there will always be the temptation to just push more leads into the sales funnel and hope they work out. This is a damaging notion that will take time to prove ineffective, but consider yourself ahead of the curve by going in this direction.
In the meantime, build your sales process with the aforementioned three guidelines top of mind. Develop an ideal customer profile (ICP) that will help you stay focused on specific accounts, rather than a huge chunk of disorganized targets. There are always easy tweaks that you can make that seasoned sales execs have proven effective. These little hacks supercharge your efforts and soon, others will catch on.
While these tactics take time to implement upfront, sales execs stand to reap the benefits in the long-term with more closed deals, happy customers, and a track record of success.
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Guest author Nicholas Little is a blogger and copywriter at Fileboard.