Your small business exists because it has a product or service to sell. However, you can’t have a sale if you don’t have a buyer. And you can’t have a buyer if you don’t successfully generate and track sales leads.
What Exactly is a Sales Lead?
In general, a sales lead is a potential customer who previously indicated an interest in your product or service. They are not a customer…yet. Your job (or that of your sales reps) is to sway that individual or business so that they become your customer.
Seems like an easy enough task. However, many things can go wrong. For instance, does everyone in your company have the same definition of a sales lead? If not, that could be a problem.
In the Entrepreneur article, “10 Ways to Better Manage Sales Leads,” writer Greg Anderson suggests that “90 percent of the leads that are sent to sales staff are never acted upon.” The fault might be with your organization – the lead goes to the wrong person or isn’t timely enough – or it might be with the customer – they are not currently interested. Regardless of the reason, the lead goes cold and the sales rep moves on.
Turn a Sales Lead into a Sale
You’ll never turn a lead into a sale if you don’t know which prospects are hot. The only way to know is by tracking your sales leads.Anderson offers these tips:
- Use customer relationship management (CRM) software that can do things such as automatically upload sales lead contact information into your database and assign leads to the right person
- Identify the source of the lead, such as advertising, referral, cold call
- Distribute your leads quickly before they go stale
- Develop marketing campaigns to “nurture” the lead and develop a relationship that better enables you to understand their needs and wants
- Be sure to track all the information in order to see what is and isn’t working
You don’t need a sophisticated CRM tool to start with. With some of my start-ups, I have used spreadsheets that we can share in the cloud, free CRM tools or even Wiki in the cloud. Whatever you use, use it.
Follow up time on the lead is important. Studies have shown that if you can respond within 15 minutes, you are more likely to get a sale or at least an appointment. By responding so fast, your prospect still has you on the top of their mind.
Successful sales require successful sales tracking. It’s about identifying your ideal customer and then proactively managing their sales. We can help you find the right customers as well as the most cost-effective strategic alliances to grow your business. Contact us so we can show you how to do it right.