What makes a sales lead valuable?

A case for valuable sales leads

Sales folks are rarely enthusiastic about sales leads- which is surprising, or not- depending on how you look at it. There is obviously pressure to get to an opportunity before your competition. But, the worst thing for a sales guy is to have to chase dud leads. What are valuable sales leads?

Leads come in all shapes and from all sorts of sources. Most of them have little information other than a name and a number. Some have an email. And most of them result in nothing. Reasons are too numerous to go into, here.

Lead generation to qualification

Leads to deals to winMarketing generates the most leads for sales. And those are the leads that sales people are the most sceptical about. So, over time, most marketing leads tend to go through at least a level of “qualification”- typically a telecaller who would call the lead and gauge the seriousness or interest in purchase.

The filtering tends to be quite severe. I have seen as much as 80% leads fall by the wayside and only the 20% or less make their way to sales people to follow up. These bunch have a much better chance of closure.

The goals of the telecaller and the sales guys are – even if slightly, misaligned. The Telecaller is the “man in the middle”- he filters the marketing leads. They differ in their understanding of what valuable sales leads are.

Valuable sales leads

The telecaller – typically- is looking to get the lead to commit to a meeting or follow up call – from the sales person. He counts his success as a number of leads who have managed to say yes. This, needless to say is what the marketing guy wants too. More marketing leads result into a follow up call, better his metrics look.

Now, if poor quality leads make into the sales funnel, the sales metrics of conversion will look bad. Which is why I say, the goals of telesales and sales are often misaligned.

On balance, I still prefer the marketing to fund the tele-qualification function. There is of course scope in sales and marketing teams sitting down together and drawing up pre-agreed crieteria for deals qualification.

Okay, so what are valuable sales leads?

Having talked with hundreds of customers in scores of industries – my only answer is that it depends. It varies from industry to industry and even within the same industry, it varies from company to company. And, I am talking of companies who have actually invested the time to define the threshold of information and interest and how they measure both before passing it on to a sales guy.

Interest in the next step

Interest shown by the lead in being contacted it seems is a big factor. Also, the nature of interest matters too. Some would simply want more information to be mailed, while the others might want a visit from a sales person. I know at least one company where professed interest in meeting a sales person is ruthlessly scrutinized because the sales people are so senior and their time, expensive.

Where telecallers inevitably falter

Almost all companies have a script for the their telecallers. But I have seen most falter in sifting through the tyre-kickers and the door-keepers. Sales does not like information gatherers- though in some B2B enterprise sales processes, information sharing is mandatory as part of a long sales process. Sales also wants to talk to decision makers- and most leads tend to be from folks who are merely gathering data for their bosses. You do not want to be at the mercy of people who are not able to represent your case in from of decision makers- though sometimes you may not have a choice.

Action, level and logical fit

Sales love leads where there is clear action plan and it is obviously set up at an appropriate decision making level at the customer place. If the lead is from a customer or industry segment which is a logical fit- that obviously helps. If it is not, the telecaller should try and establish the need or the pain-point of the lead.

To summarize, valuable sales leads are where meeting is set up at a decision making level where a logical product fit can be established.

Lastly, when you work on a common platform for lead capture, qualification, conversion to deal and deal nurture and close, it definitely makes it easier for all. The lead qualification is a learning process- over a period of time and by capturing data of hundreds of leads qualified – your own criteria for evaluating leads will get better.

Running a telemarketing operation? Get Saleswah

Do you want to improve lead conversion?

Are you running a telemarketing operation? Are you evaluated by how many sales inquiries your team sends to the sales team? Take a look at how you can improve lead conversion and help increase the conversion of leads into orders.

Running a call centre to improve Lead Conversion?Out of every 100 “leads” your team gets, perhaps 5 will become paying customers. Your team is paid to identify perhaps 20 out of the 100 who the direct sales team will call. That is all the more reason why need to improve lead conversion process, backed by a robust lead management software.

Leads comes in throughout the day; your telemarketing team works through the list to shortlist the best few. While it is important to not miss out a great prospect, it is equally important to not send the frivolous enquiries for follow up to the sales team. That is what Telemarketing teams do. They improve lead conversion.

How Saleswah Basic will help improve lead conversion

0. Get your entire sales team, telemarketing executives on Saleswah Sales (at around Rs 1150/- per month per user, the cost is incidental).

1. Assign your direct sales team (s) to territories.

2. Assign your telemarketing team to groups/ teams of direct sales persons.

3. Implement a lead qualification process that your direct sales people will only chase prospects (leads) that have been vetted/ qualified by your telemarketing team.

4. Achieve sales quota, productive team, higher sales productivity and happy boss!

As a bonus, see instantly updated reports on how many sales leads are being converted to deals (to be followed up by direct sales people), how many to deals are being converted into orders and even, how many orders came from leads your telemarketing team passed on to the direct sales team.

 

CRM at Hanover Fair or at Pragati Maidan

Why participate in trade-fairs, if you have no follow up plan?

Have you ever participated in one of the large trade fairs? I mean, actually stand behind the counter? Man the booth?

What’s your takeaway from the fair? More awareness for your brand and/ or products? Hopefully. Some good partnerships signed up? Perhaps. A few large orders? Maybe. But, if you are in a competitive market and new customers are your lifeblood, then quickly having your visitors turned over to your sales people to follow up is important.

In a nutshell, that is what Saleswah Basic  does.

Think about it. Your prospect came to your booth, spent time looking at your exhibits and then,  either filled out a form or dropped his card in the fishbowl. If you wish to make an impact, sell to him when the visit is still fresh in his mind; not a week later, when the sales team gets handed out these “leads”.

How about following up the same day? How about calling his mobile as he is leaving the fair-ground, seeking an appointment to meet?

You sell automotive car seat covers? And you have tens/ hundreds of dealers? What if you could directly send the sales lead to the dealer best placed to serve him? What if, you did it right in front of the customer and told him, “the Monday after, when you go back to Cochin, please land up at this store where I have already made an appointment for you. And, someone will call you to confirm”. And, someone actually does?

Whether your customer is best served in Cochin or Cologne, Begusarai or Budapest, a delay in passing on the lead to your sales team is not going to help anyone.

Except perhaps the competition. Get Saleswah! Try for a month, absolutely free.