Increasing sales

B2B sales: Lead generation made easier

In sales you need to be working to minimise waste and add value.

In B2B sales, you can’t afford to waste time with opportunities that don’t have great potential to deliver results. These add no real potential or value to your business or to those of your sales prospects. In sales, like in any other area of your business, you need to be working to minimise waste and add value. That starts with knowing how to increase your sales leads.

How to increase sales leads by qualifying early

A challenge for every B2B business is to have a sound qualification process. Qualifying your opportunities early in the sales cycle helps you focus on business you can win. They’re prospects that you’ve screened and with whom you have a good chance of closing a sale. 

The advent of online business has seen the goalposts move for making a sale. Previously, with a considerable amount of enthusiasm and energy, you courted sales prospects in face-to-face sales meetings. You knew when you were in the room if the opportunity was ‘winnable’. 

Today, buyers have access to a plethora of information and access to many more suppliers than ever.

Developing an ongoing leads process so that you’re building a healthy sales pipeline can be challenging. And, because it’s easier to generate qualified leads from multiple industry verticals and different geographical locations, your offerings need to complement the needs of all of these. 

Exceptionally good salespeople are hard to find, but it’s critical to have sales staff who know the offering inside out and display a passion for it that positively influences buyers.

Finally, identifying key decision-makers in an organisation and making contact with them is a critical step that can be time-consuming and challenging, but absolutely essential to convert leads. 

Develop a quick litmus test for lead generation

Successful salespeople develop techniques to check out enquiries to determine whether the buyer is serious or ‘just looking’ – a series of careful questions that qualify the prospect as “in” or “out”. The nature of the questions may vary from business to business and one person to another, but they all need to answer the same basic question: “Is this opportunity real, or am I just wasting my time?”.

The questions should give you an idea of the prospect’s ‘sales readiness’, and help you determine how much effort you are going to put into the lead. They can also influence your approach. 

There are many ways to qualify prospects, but the simpler you keep your process, and the ease with which it can be incorporated into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, then the more likely you and your staff are to adopt it. 

For any enquiry, you need a quick and reliable test to be sure you are going after the right opportunities. 

Does your sales lead pass the litmus test?

You can develop a quick litmus test with a series of simple questions that indicate the reality of the opportunity.

You’ll need to create a scoring system for your questions.

Score each question and then add up the total at the end to see if you have a real opportunity or just a ‘tyre-kicker’. Not all leads are opportunities, and not all opportunities can be won. The litmus test helps you filter out the good leads from the bad – those to drop, those to chase and those you might want to ‘park for later’.

1. Do they need your offering? 

Ensure they understand your competitive advantage and unique selling proposition. Scoring this should depend on their “pain” intensity and the increased profit your solution might create. 

2. Is there a compelling event?

What’s driving them to make a decision or a change? What’s the payback if they make a change or the consequences of not acting? Lack of urgency to make a decision can delay the sales process and waste time.

3. When do they need it?

When does the target need to be met? If there’s no urgency, treat the opportunity as ‘suspect’ and keep in touch for when they’re ready.

4. Do you know their decision-making process?

If you don’t know who and how decisions are made and/or aren’t dealing with the right people, give them a low score.

5. Is there a future opportunity with this prospect?

Is there a strategic reason for winning this business? Don’t spend time and expense on a small deal with a low margin if you can’t see future opportunities. 

6. Can they afford you?

Determine if they have the necessary budget for your service. Confirm a budget has been approved.

7. Can you support them?

Can you really provide what they require? Be realistic here.

8. Have they got the skills to use it?

Ideally, want them to implement your solution and be a great testimonial for future sales leads.

If your opportunity is qualified as “in”, you’re ready to develop a sales plan to target the business and close the deal.

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