You call THIS networking and Lead Generation?
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I can’t hear about what you do, because I’m busy telling you about what we do.

By Mari Anne Vanella, The Vanella Group

This statement gets back to the quantity versus quality leads. Lead generation companies making buckshot calls to countless companies hoping one will hit the target. A bit of research may reveal that not only is this company you are calling NOT a potential client, but that they may indeed be a competitor offering the same services.

IStock_000000796755SmallThis reminds me of tradeshow, webinar and other “guest” situations. Periodically, I’ll bring a customer or partner to tradeshows and other sponsored events as my guest. Their company name is usually included in the registration, yet no one vets the list so perhaps up to four years later our main line is receiving calls seeking out our “guest” as if they work for our company. Did you read this part, “FOUR YEARS LATER.” How big was that event list? Chances are a bit of research on LinkedIn would have revealed they are currently a VP at a large software company and has been since the time of the past event.

Along the same line of thought, has this happened to you? When I’m a visitor to various websites, behind the scenes there is a script generating notifications that someone has crossed their online boundary, triggering the “follow up” system, creating a new lead in their CRM, even though I have tripped the alarm on this site several other times – also generating a new lead. The phone rings within minutes and the call is from the company whose site I’m on. There are actually companies sites I no longer choose to share their content because every time I do, I get an email and a call within an hour without specifically expressing interest in receiving a call. The total lack of caring about the 15 other times they called for the sake of MAYBE this time I might be interested, has turned me off completely to a point I deliberately avoid the sites and the companies. These companies have so much thoughtless automation in place without checks and comparison  that it has led me to not only avoid their sites, but to make a mental note to not recommend this model to clients ever.

The good thing is as long as this is the type of outreach that goes on, my company remains in high demand. But what is going on in the industry continues to reinforce the distaste people have for salespeople. With all the great tools in the sales enablement space today, reps continue to disable themselves by not using them right. Part of the hiring process for companies needs to be surfacing their personal views on prospects and their view of them as people, and how they make sure they personally add value to their interactions. In fact, one of my hiring questions is “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for a company you worked for.” I had one guy tell me “Wow Mari Anne, you are really making me stretch my brain here….” Evaluate your hiring model to make sure you aren’t hiring someone that couldn’t care less about your prospects you invested in to aquire. And then evaluate your training and monitoring to make sure you aren’t having a complete break-down on the front lines of customer engagement. I did a blog post a while back about that Last Mile of Engagement, and that is where the majority of lead generation investments are lost in how they are handled by reps.

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