This is an excerpt from my second book, Managing the Sales Process, available on Amazon.com. You can find a series of these excerpts in a dedicated blog category to get a broad overview, post-by-post, of the book (they are listed in reverse order in the category, so start with the oldest).
From Chapter 2 – The Right Skills: Generating Leads
If you are working to instill discipline around lead generation in your current salespeople, first make sure that your contact management systems supports associating a task with a date and a contact (if it doesn’t, it’s time to evaluate what it is doing for you and how that is helping your sales team and your sales efforts). Ask your salespeople what they do now to ensure that all of their contacts are scheduled for some future follow-up, and tell them that this is now an expectation. Ask their advice about how to make that happen with the contact management systems they use. It is hard to enforce this if the work is not helpful for the salespeople, so make sure they understand the reason for the new rules. Then work with them to find a good way to implement it.
Most contact management systems will allow you to create a simple report that shows all of the contacts associated with a specific salesperson and all of the tasks in order of the date assigned to each task. If this is possible, all of the contacts without a date will be at one end of the report and you can work with the salespeople to get each contact in their database scheduled or inactive. If your contact management program won’t do this, you can probably filter down to the records you need and create an Excel-compatible file or find some other way to get the data into a spreadsheet to help you get the same information.
To the extent that you hear that this is non-productive administrative work, remind your salespeople that existing customers are the best source of business and that you would like to see that they are being contacted regularly to ensure that all of the potential business is being captured. If your salespeople are unwilling to do this, it may be time to consider their value to the organization and the value of their un-contacted members of the database ─ and what solutions might lie in between. Telling salespeople that contacts need to be contacted regularly or reassigned to another salesperson is a relatively reliable way to get the results you are after, one way or the other.
Managing and generating leads is a skill that your salespeople need to master if they are to succeed in the long term. It only takes a bit of strategic thinking and a disciplined system to make sure this happens. This is the front end of your sales pipeline, and your pipeline will be stronger if leads are plentiful and well managed.
Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)
So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.
If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:
The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.
Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.
The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.
If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.
Here’s to your success!