What are you going to do when the well runs dry? To be clear, I am not talking about water, I am talking about leads. What are you going to do when all the inbound leads dry up and there are no new sales opportunities to pursue? The answer to that question is both simple and complex at the same time. The simple part of the equation is do outbound lead development. The complex part of the equation is in answering these five questions, which by the way, is why there are performance issues in most sales organizations.
Don’t know why…
Don’t know what…
Don’t know how…
Don’t know when…
Don’t want to…
A Fictional Case Study
I am a sales manager for a small company in Pennsylvania. Over the last six months the number of inbound leads from our Web site has dropped significantly. At the Monday morning pipeline meeting, I explained the situation and asked everyone to start doing outbound lead development.
Later that day one of my Seller Doers, a man named Ken, comes to me and says, “Howard, I don’t know why I have to do outbound lead development? I never had to do that before.” My answer is direct and to the point. “There are two reasons. First, that task is in your position description, and second your company needs you to do it… successfully. If you do not fulfill that function we cannot grow the business and make a profit.”
“But, I don’t know what to do to make it happen. I never did outbound lead development before.” “Not a problem,” I reply. “You and I will sit down and write a plan of action to get you started.” Below is the plan of action we developed.
Develop a profile of your target account
Build a ten slide interactive sales presentation in Power Point
Write at least two versions of a value driven pre-approach letter to send to prospects
Write a short telephone script that includes overcoming the most common objections
Build a profile on LinkedIn and Biznik.com and start to prospect using those Web sites
Go to different job hunt Web sites and look for companies that are hiring people in our niche and start to make contact with those companies
Start building your outbound lead data base in our CRM
Establish daily goals for emails and phone calls and weekly goals for scheduling and holding sales meetings using the Power Point deck
After we write the plan of action, Ken makes this statement, and he says it with a lot of energy. “I don’t know how to do most of the things on that list.” “I understand, Ken” I say in a sympathetic voice. “I will help you get started and will commit some of my time over the next five days to help you implement the plan. In addition, I will make sure that one of our more successful salespeople acts as your coach to help you through the learning curve.”
Ken thanked me, and said, “I don’t know when to start scheduling time to work on the plan, what do you recommend?” “First thing tomorrow morning,” I say with a big smile on my face.
Then Ken asked me one final question. “Howard, what happens if I don’t want to add outbound lead development to my already busy schedule?” Again, my answer is direct and to the point. “If you do not agree to work on your plan of action and give it your best shot, you will probably be looking for job before the end of the year.”
The Bottom Line
Okay, my fictional case study is over simplified. And yes, outbound lead development is a lot of work. There is usually a lot of resistance for people who never did outbound lead development before as it is a scary and frustrating process to learn. To get decent results takes personal commitment and a lot of trial and error.