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

Lead Generation – Part 1

If we define a lead as contact information for someone who can be approached about starting a business conversation, then lead generation can be segmented into two subcategories:

The first is the obvious one: Finding people who have not yet been contacted by the company and who may be interested in doing business at some time in the near future. Lead generation with this subcategory means capturing their contact information to allow some kind of prospecting attempt to happen (meaning a request for a conversation about selling something to them).

To be successful at the first kind of lead generation (finding people who are not currently an existing customer or prospect to contact for a sales conversation), a salesperson needs to be able to do two basic things: Define the target and find a source.

To determine if this has been part of the salesperson’s previous responsibilities, ask for a description of past lead targets targeted in the past and how he or she went about finding and using a source. It may or may not be important if they came up with the target themselves. Most salespeople who can describe a profile or two and a way to reach them could do the same for you if it is a part of the job. If this is a very important requirement, spend some time in the interview talking about your products and brainstorm about how the salesperson would target and generate new leads. This exercise will prove to be helpful if this person begins working for you, as it will provide a clear point of departure for lead generation.

If you are working with existing salespeople and you want them to generate more of their own leads, do some brainstorming with them, either one-on-one or in a group if you have multiple salespeople working with similar products and target profiles. Once the characteristics of a target group have been defined (company size, location, industry, revenue, person in the company, place in the need cycle, things specific to your product or service, etc.), then brainstorm about how to generate contact information for prospective leads that meet that profile.

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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!

-David