Ever eavesdropped on a group of sales professionals standing around, bemoaning the fact that they haven’t hit their sales targets and blaming it on a lack of quality sales leads? Ever had the sneaking suspicion, however valid their complaints, that there were things that they could have done to get more leads that they just didn’t do?
Ever been one of those complaining sales professionals?
It’s easy to find excuses for not being able to get your hands on the numbers of high-quality sales leads you need each week, month, or quarter. You can blame it on the fact that your company’s customer relationship management system is outdated. You can blame it on having to spend your time cold calling rather than on making sales. You can blame it on your superiors. Why won’t they just buy some new leads lists? Why won’t they break down and hire a lead generation consultant? WHY WON’T THEY LISTEN TO ME?
If you’ve ever complained that you can’t get your hands on the sales leads you need, perhaps it’s time that you take on the task of finding quality leads yourself. Is there any good reason that you should continue to wait around for your superiors to hand you more leads? You can claim that it’s their responsibility—not yours—to fill your sales funnel with the right prospects, but let’s face it: that’s a sorry excuse for low achievement. Careers are made by breaking out of the box and doing what it takes to get the job done rather than waiting for someone else to do the job. So, don’t wait. Do the job. Get the leads. MAKE THEM LISTEN.
There are three things you need to do to make them listen. The first is to identify your needsand the needs of your coworkers or sales team as a whole. The second is to identify the needs of your superiors. The third is to uncover the solutions that will best meet everyone’s needs.
1. Identify your needs and the needs of your team.
It should be relatively easy for you to determine your needs and the needs of your team. What isn’t always so easy is listing those needs in a positive way rather than as a series of complaints.
Try not to get on the complaint wagon. Instead of listing things like, “not enough leads,” or, “too many old leads,” list things like, “need more ways to generate more leads,” and “need new processes that allow for the easy disposal of unqualified leads.” Try to list your needs in a manner that invites you and anyone else who may view them to come up with solutions rather than reasons needs can’t be met.
2. Identify the needs of your superiors.
Identifying the needs of your superiors can be a little trickier. Have you ever really considered what constraints your superiors are under? You can ask to be included in key meetings, such as budget meetings, if it’s appropriate for you to do so, but often, having casual conversations with your superiors and other key people in your organization can do just as much or more to help you determine what roadblocks may impede your requests to ramp up your sales department’s lead generation efforts. Once you determine the needs of your superiors, list them in the same positive, forward-thinking manner you listed your team’s needs.
3. Uncover solutions.
One thing you can safely assume is that nearly all of the challenges your superiors are currently facing have to do with budgets—or a lack of budgets. Have you ever made a request for more of something or suggested a solution to a problem and heard the response, “The money’s just not there?” Anticipate this response and find ways to combat it by continuing your independent research. Arm yourself with the hard data you will need to form a convincing rebuttal.
If your sales department needs more ways to generate more leads, come up with at least twoways your company could potentially generate more leads, and then back up your proposed solutions with facts.
What might your department be able to accomplish internally? Are there sales tasks that ought to be outsourced? You are as able as anyone else to see where loss and waste is occurring within your sales department and determine how time and resources might be better spent. You are also as able as anyone else to get on the Web and the phone and compare lead generation companies’ services and determine which ones will be able to provide you with a high return on investment and/or scalable services that can be adapted to meet your department’s needs—and budget.
If you’ve been waiting for your company to bring value to you—stop. Instead, spend your time making yourself an invaluable member of your company. When you start focusing less on the commissions you’re not getting and more on the career you want, the real dollars will come.