In this article, we’ll discuss advanced lead generation and how it can boost the sales cycle in ways you may not have considered.
In their efforts to reduce the length of the sales cycle and close deals more efficiently, many sales people skimp on what is perhaps the most important part of the cycle: lead generation. You should never forget your end goal in pursuing new methods–you want to boost sales cycle efficiency, not shorten it at any cost. Few things better boost sales cycle performance than high quality, focused lead generation. In this article, we’ll discuss advanced lead generation and how it can boost the sales cycle in ways you may not have considered.
Understanding the difference between good and bad leads is a crucial baseline for the rest of this article. So what makes a good lead? That’s going to depend on your industry, your business model, and the sales techniques used by you or your team. It can come down to individual differences, even–one individual’s perfect lead might be difficult for another to close.
So it comes down to metrics and applying data. A good metrics system should reveal what leads work best for you–what you close quickly and consistently, what you close with a bit of work, and what you can’t close no matter how much time you put in. Obviously, what you want are the leads you can reliably close with less time committed.
The more you can separate out the key factors from the irrelevant the better, but don’t get ahead of yourself–certain factors may be tied to perfect leads, but if you can’t recognize that factor in a pile of leads or produce prospects with that factor through hands-on lead generation, it doesn’t matter much here.
A strong understanding of what makes for a good lead is important for lead generation, but the manner in which you develop a lead matters. When at all possible, you want leads that in some way pre-qualify themselves–if you can arrange this without much effort on the part of yourself or your team, all the better, but such an ideal method is rare and will depend wholly on what you are selling and how you are selling it.
The strongest possible leads will be those who have committed in some way already–those who invested the time to fill out a questionnaire, or spent money on something else your company offers, or in some other way invested time or resources. Again, this is the ideal.
Lead generation more often means colder contact–cold calls/emails at the very worst. In such a case, proper lead generation should include gathering as much information in advance as possible. The more information you have when you make first contact, the more likely you’ll be able to form a connection and move into the sales cycle.
The one thing lead generation should never do is burn bridges. If your methods put off a significant group, even if they are not your currently targeted leads, you have badly damaged your chances of successfully selling to that prospect under different circumstances–with a different product or business model, ideal leads change and those burnt bridges will matter.
Good lead generation gives you leads that are worth spending time on, and give you a more stable base to stand on. As properly generated leads will be more similar than haphazardly generated leads, you’ll be able to better boost the sales cycle with refined approaches.
It may take longer to generate solid leads, but you’ll move through the sales cycle more consistently, have more control over all contact with the prospect, and recoup the lost time with a higher percentage of successful sales. The adage ‘Slow is smooth, smooth is fast’ applies as well in sales as it does elsewhere.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.