By Jenny Vance, president of LeadJen
In the early stages of a business, an entrepreneur typically takes on several roles to get his or her company off the ground. One of these roles might deal with sales. However, keeping the sales pipeline full is often not the best use of an entrepreneur’s time. He or she should spend time closing the deal, not cold-calling. As the need for support grows, many companies wind up outsourcing their lead-generation needs. In my six years of experience helping clients guide their sales goals, I’ve seen how beneficial lead-generation partners can be. They offer:
1. Access to good data. While it’s common practice to buy a client list for prospecting efforts, a better strategy is to invest in a custom list developed by a lead-generation partner. We’ve found that segmenting large lists into smaller, more targeted lists makes contacts easier to target and track. Also, segmenting lists by industry or job title lets businesses develop messages that are meaningful to smaller groups, instead of sending one generic message to an entire list.
2. Proven campaign tactics. How often should you call a prospect? Would your contacts respond better to an e-mail or direct mail prior to a phone call? A lead generation partner can provide you with the answers you need. For example, we’ve found that sending an e-mail immediately before a call can significantly improve a campaign’s success. We also have a lot of data that shows how specific industries will respond to calls. Healthcare executives, for example, are hard to reach, but extending the number of attempts is likely to result in an appointment.
3. Actionable insight. An outsourced partner will have systems in place to capture an array of sales metrics and information, including conversion rates. In addition, a good partner will go beyond productivity data and gather value-added information and actionable insight, including why someone is not interested in your pitch, the length of their buying cycle and what your competitors are doing in the marketplace.
4. Future opportunities. Once a campaign is complete, the tendency is to forget about it. By gaining valuable insight into contacts, your lead-generation partner can develop a lead-nurturing program for contacts that may be ready to purchase at a later date. For one client, we discovered that a competitor was coming out with a new software platform. Customers were reluctant to change vendors until they saw it. We monitored the software launch and then went back to those customers to see how they liked it. The platform was a bust, and this was a great sales opportunity for our client.
Entrepreneurs make great sales people because they understand better than anyone what their customers need. I’ve found that connecting with a lead-generation partner can help mean the difference between gaining a client and losing one. As entrepreneurs, it can be tough relinquishing responsibility, especially when it comes to something as integral to business success as sales. However, securing outside support can free up some much-needed time, letting you work on your business instead of in it.