Sales is a world of ever-changing strategies and approaches. It is a jungle, with every salesperson, sales manager, and organization fighting and competing to find an edge over their opponents. Some lean heavy on the personal touch so they deploy a lot of field agents. Some think that salespeople should just focus on selling so they siphon off lead generation and qualification to the business development department. Others think that keeping the salespeople inside and allowing them to manage their pipeline end to end is the best way to generate quality.
Well, I side with the latter.
Not that you asked, but my background includes both field and inside sales. I also worked for an organization where our business development department was down the hall and out of our hands. Salespeople are at their best when they are in complete control of the pipeline and they are building a relationship with prospects from minute one. Inside sales allows you to do that and eliminates wasted travel time that field reps have to deal with.
Inside sales reps have intimate knowledge of their product or service and the customers that buy it. They know what kind of roles they are in, how many hats they wear, what the stressors of their day to day jobs are. They know these people because they have helped many of them solve their woes.
Isn’t the same true for outside sales reps?
Well it is and isn’t. Again, I worked in both, so I have firsthand knowledge of the challenges for both. In the outside world you are often spending split time thinking about different parts of the sales process. When you are in the field you are focused on the latter parts of the sales pipeline and selling only. For a few days at a time you are completely disassociated with the process of lead generation.
In the Inside world, lead generation is a daily occurrence. When you work inside sales it is commonplace to start your day off by generating leads. It logically makes sense to work your way from one end of the other in your pipeline every day. This is also plays into blocking your time which is a super effective way to focus and tackle tasks.
Looking at the bigger picture, this all means that not only are you an expert in who your leads should be but also in how to generate leads. You are literally lead generating every day and it is in your DNA as an inside sales rep. Like anything, practice makes perfect, and you work on this craft on a daily basis.
Not all leads are created equally. Efficiency is a very important to all salespeople, and the most successful are the most efficient. It is said that good salespeople don’t just get yeses from prospects, but they also quickly get to no from those who aren’t serious prospects. This means, the best don’t waste their time.
When it comes to wasting time, there is no bigger drain on you than a low-quality lead. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean a tough sale isn’t worth it. Instead it’s talking about a lead with no chance of closing. Maybe they are in a contract with a different supplier, or they spend too little on your supplies in a year to qualify for your market, or worst of all, you aren’t talking to the true decision maker. Quality lead generation should negate as many of these timewasters as possible.
Lead generation is a vital part of your sales process. More importantly, quality lead generation separates the greats from the goods. When you are talking about quality lead generation, you should be looking at inside sales reps for best practices and inspiration. They are experts in their field, and they have made this practice part of their daily routine. They know their buyer persona’s better than anyone else and they know what makes for a lead with a real chance of becoming a customer.