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Golfing Wisdom from the Sales Lead Management Association

“A good drive on the 18th hole has stopped many a golfer from giving up the game.” IStock_000014196913Medium

The same can be said for salespeople and sales leads. Salespeople have to be taught to play through when all of the hot leads turn cold; when the prospect says, “Call me,” and then disappears for weeks; and when a sure-fire-guaranteed client says, “We love your proposal,” and then doesn’t return your calls (and you were stupid enough to brag about the “done deal” to the sales manager).

Stuff happens in golf and sales. You can shank it, hit into all the traps, and miss every green but that one sweet under-par hole can change the game for you. Just like that one sweet sale can change your outlook on sales.

A friend of mine, Phil Nasser from the Sales Productivity Institute said, “The most important 5 inches in golf are the ones between your ears (not that short putt).”

This is true for all of us in our sales and lead management roles. Our perceptions, expectations and approach dictate the outcomes we receive equally as much as does the situation in which we find ourselves. I have a client who says he never quits…anything. When met with rejection or rebuff in any of his business dealings (or other life situations), he just finds another way to make it work. He knows in advance that he may be required to “flex” and come up with other, creative solutions. He builds this into his approach. Like Thomas Edison, he doesn’t view failure as failure but rather as “learning one way that won’t work.” Cleaning up our perceptions, setting proper expectations and being flexible in our approach are game-winners for us all.

Playing “client golf” teaches great business lessons as well. Instead of concentrating on your game, you focus on the client. This requires you to: help him with your course knowledge (assuming you’ve played the course before; follow the flight of his ball; go into the woods to get his ball if necessary; defer to him whenever necessary; help line up his putts; run to get his sandwich and beer…just generally look after him and take care of his needs. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do in business?

Good thoughts Phil. And this translates into what we are supposed to do for prospects. A sales rep can’t give up on the follow-up. The winner is the one with the best, more persistent follow-through. But that’s a subject for another Golfing Wisdom article from the SLMA.

Golfing Wisdom from the Sales Lead Management Association

“If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.”

How true this is. But aren’t you glad this isn’t true in marketing? Even if you’re an old duffer you can still learn better ways to create the number one thing all salespeople crave: qualified leads.

IStock_000020483067MediumA friend of mine, Dan McDade of PointClear said, “Most golfers would be very happy if they shot par (.5% do, only 20% of all golfers consistently shoot under 100). So the vast majority of golfers never break 100 – and while they are not very satisfied with that result – it does not stop them from playing.

Measurement of satisfaction around the creation of qualified leads in most companies is just like the average golf scores. A very low percentage would be graded as par while the vast majority of companies would have handicaps over 28. That is because of:

  • A cost per lead mentality
  • Poor conversion from marketing leads to sales leads
  • Poor close rates
  • A total lack of communication between marketing and sales

The result is that the problem isn't fixed. 

The fix is: improve the drive by providing sales with leads that actually meet an agreed upon definition; step-up the approach shot by measuring acceptance and qualification of marketing generated leads; and, cut down on putts per round by measuring the percent of sales qualified leads that close.

In average companies just 2.89% of marketing generated raw leads ever make it to a closed won deal. In optimized companies the results are over five times better. So, do you want to be an

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