Building More Business — Sherburne
Prospective customers are more likely to talk with a firm that has a recognized name. And lead generation, if done correctly, provides you with information about qualified prospects that are likely to purchase your products or services, reducing the amount of time your sales force must spend on expensive, and often unproductive, cold calling.
In previous columns, I have shared ideas about how to build market awareness and generate leads using vehicles such as direct mail and Internet search optimization. But what happens to those leads once you acquire them? Obviously, simply generating the leads is not enough. Leads must be acted upon by qualified sales professionals to turn those leads into revenue. And ensuring that this happens requires constant management oversight.
When I was in sales at Xerox, I had a manager who always said, “You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.” As business owners and sales managers, not only should you make sure that you clearly communicate your expectations to your sales force, you must also follow up on those expectations to ensure that they are met.
One efficient way for management to follow up on expectations is through the implementation of a sales force automation tool, such as ACT! or Goldmine, or an online solution such as SalesForce.com. Salespeople can sell more by leveraging their knowledge of prospects and existing accounts. With the right tools, they can eliminate some of the repetitive administrative tasks that keep them in the office instead of in front of customers. And by leveraging a sales automation tool, your sales force can better focus on—and close—the highest probability deals.