Delivering qualified leads and appointments is a shortcut to making forecast!
When sales are lagging, you’re in a slump, your back’s against the wall, and you need to make forecast, the answer is to get appointments for your reps. Not just any appointments mind you; you need qualified appointments.
When sales are down in most companies, the manager’s first response is to increase sales activity. More calls. Call current clients, call old proposals, call old leads; “jump on the phones” screams the sales manager.
The next, and sometimes simultaneous next step, is to increase sales activity by increasing marketing activity; create more leads and you will create more sales. Yes, this works but it takes time; maybe more time than the sales manager is allotted. Raw leads come in at the top of the funnel and have to be qualified by salespeople. Lots of activity is required to find the qualified prospects in the haystack.
As marketing spending increases, profits suffer (but “who cares?” says the sales manager, as long as you can make the forecast). Of course, marketing activity needs an offer to draw buyers in and the offer is usually a discount incentive. Cash incentives are given away for each sale; margins suffer. While the CFO suffers, the sales manager not so much; he or she is grateful to make the number.
Faster and Cheaper Solutions
Solution One Find qualified prospects who are further into the funnel and closer to the decision maker than a raw inquiry dropped into the top of the funnel. When salespeople are surveyed for their needs, they always, always, ask for qualified leads. Qualified leads have a need, desire, time frame and budget. If you give a salesperson 100 inquiries, 76% will say they will buy (only 45% do) and 15-25% can be considered qualified to make a purchase in three months. Give salespeople qualified leads and you save prospecting time and hundreds of calls to unqualified prospects.
Why it’s Important
“The fastest and most efficient way to increase sales is to get qualified appointments with qualified buyers who have a need.”
Solution Two The fastest and most efficient method to increase sales is to get qualified appointments with qualified buyers who have a need. Appointments will jump-start the sales process and cut months off the normal sales cycle. Appointments close faster and cheaper than burning sales hours talking to unqualified people and marketing programs that have margin-burning offers.
How to Do It
Telemarketing If you don’t have people inside your company with a thick enough skin to make 50-100 calls a day to talk to 25-30 people and make 1-2 appointments for a rep, go outside to people who know how. Appointments have a phenomenal closing rate.
Get qualified appointments and go to the bank faster.
Books for Salespeople and Sales Managers
Jill Konrath’s book, More Sales-Less Time. Surprisingly simple strategies for today’s crazy-busy sellers.
Chris Smith’s book The Conversion Code, about capturing internet leads, creating quality appointments, and closing more sales.