Many businesses are struggling right now—especially when it comes to sales. Many of these struggles are due to the poor economy. However, some salespeople are running out of gas because they believe they’ve hit the upper limit of people and companies to sell their products or services. In reality, these salespeople might not be looking hard enough or in the right places for new business. A common misconception about sales is that it is all just cold calling as many people or businesses as possible until you get a bite. In reality, finding the right target groups to sell to is just as important to sales as actually selling to them. The process of finding this new business is called lead generation.
One of the biggest keys to a successful business is the generation of new sales leads. A lead is a person or company that has shown some interest in the services or products that your company provides. It can also be a company or person who fits a target group for what you are providing. Without leads, a sales team cannot be successful. Therefore, generating good leads is just as important as refining your pitch or closing well.
By now you might be asking: “How do I generate the right leads?” Years ago, leads were developed by meeting people, cold calling, and purchased lists. As seasoned salespeople know, purely cold calling and meeting people was a flawed process. You could generate leads, but the volume of effective leads would not be substantial. Thanks to advances in technology, this is no longer case. In the last 10-15 years advances in technology have made it extremely easy to target and acquire ideal leads.
Social media and search engines have greatly simplified the process of generating leads. It literally takes a matter of seconds to find a multitude of companies and people who fit the criteria for a potential sale. It may take some extra research to find your new lead’s contact information, and then some more time to contact them, but it will still be a thousand times faster than cold calling. It’s now possible to generate an extremely high volume of leads in a short period of time. The more leads you get, the more pitches your sales team is ultimately going to close. For many companies, it will make sense to dedicate full time employees exclusively to working on lead generation.
Inbound marketing experts over at Hubspot have developed a treasure trove of resources on lead generation. Take a look and see if you don’t find some of them useful! Once you’ve started collecting some really high quality leads, you might want to learn more about running an effective prospect meeting or overcoming objections.
photo credit: Richard_of_England