Communication is more than how we pronounce a word - its about our defintion of a word. You say Potato, I say Potaaahhto, Let's Call the Whole Thing Off. Sung by Billie Holiday and written by Ira & George Gershwin, this little ditty, sums up the debate on when is a lead a lead. Is the request for your brochure really a lead? Is leaving a business card in your bowl at a trade show, really a lead? Is filling out your website contact form to receive a white paper a lead? And does the definition of a lead affect the actions of your sales team? Is it potato or potaaato?
Well I say POTAAATO! The above examples are not leads they are inquiries. According to a Harvard Business Study, 80% of leads never receive follow up from the sales team. Why? Because what we give the sales team are more often than not, just inquiries. If you give your team those business cards from the trade show or a list of website form names and ask them to follow up, you’re setting your self and the sales team up for failure. So, what do you do to turn inquiries into revenue? Change your mind set and:
Accept the difference between an inquiry and a lead
Define them: an inquiry has expressed an interest in your product or service, while a lead is an inquiry that has been contacted, profiled and qualified according to specific business criteria like purchase time frame or needs match
Define your process from Inquiry to Qualified Lead to Qualified Prospect to Sale (free process tool)
Assign the qualification stage in the process to your inside sales team. Don’t have an inside sales team, then outsource the qualification or assign to a marketing person. Don’t waste your professional selling team on the qualification step UNLESS you are selling a one off or commodity product that can and should be done in one prospect interaction
Score and categorize the inquiry based on specific, defined criteria and then distribute according to the categories. (see next month's newsletter for more on scoring and a free score card tool)
You can increase the inquiry to sale conversion rate if you are honest and realistic about how you qualify, score, categorize and assign those inquiries. Reassigning the qualification step and allowing your professional selling team to focus on qualified leads rather than inquiries, will increase your overall sales, improve the quality of your sales, shorten your sales cycle and reduce your cost of sales. So, don’t call the whole thing off, just change your pronunciation!
Need help learning how to say Potaaato? Call Catalytic Management. We can help you develop a productive lead generation system that will close more sales.
Catalytic Management specializes in business performance and growth
including sales effectiveness, customer service and business
process improvement for companies
in New England and the Northeast.