10 Tips for Successful Lead Generation
1. Hire or assign a dedicated person or team.
Find someone who has relevant experience and a talent for making prospecting calls and make this their responsibility. Don’t give the job to someone time-poor who will struggle to make consistent calls. Equally, don’t give the job to someone just because they have some spare time to make calls. The best lead generation candidate is someone who can spend 2-4 hours every day on cold calling. That means they may not be one of your face-to-face sales team, either. In most cases, a salesperson who is good at selling face to face will not be as effective selling over the phone – they require different skills, such as not selling the appointment and not the product.
2. Set time aside every day for lead generation.
You have to prospect consistently and for at least 2-4 hours every day to achieve worthwhile results. To make sure that this happens, set out guidelines about the time of day that they must be calling, then remove all distractions, so they are completely focused on just this activity for the duration of their calling time.
3. Define and refine your prospect lists
There are approximately 2.3 million registered businesses in Australia, but did you know that 60% of these have no employees? And only 250,000 companies (around 10% of the total) have more than 5 staff? So, if your target market is businesses with 5 or more staff and you were to call an unqualified list (a public domain business directory, for example), 90% of your calls would be to companies that aren’t in your target market. That’s a big waste of time, plus it’s very demoralising for the person making the calls. Instead, source your calling lists from reputable list brokers. They can help you to define and refine your list by geographic location, by industry and by company size. This will mean your telemarketer will be calling the right prospects for your business, those that have a good chance of becoming customers.
4. Set activity-based targets and measure performance daily
It’s easy to set targets for the number of leads to be generated, or appointments to be set, but these focus solely on the outcome. If your lead generator does not hit this target, you won’t know why and nor will they. So set activity-based targets too.
On average each lead generator should be able to make 15-20 phone calls per hour. However, their contact rate (conversation with the relevant decision maker) will be much lower than this. Expect around 5 conversations per hour, though this can go up to 8/hour if the conversations are quick, or down to 2/hour if they are long and complex, or if the Decision Maker is very hard to reach.
Our experience is that conversion rates (% of decision makers spoken to that turn into a lead or appointment) will typically fall between 5% and 15%, but can be as high as 25% and as low as 1%, depending on the market and level of qualification required for a lead to be considered as an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead).
Use this conversion rate to work out how many hours of calling will be required to generate one lead. The more highly qualified the lead, the longer it will take to uncover and the lower the conversion rate will be.
For example: if your lead generator is speaking with 5 decision makers per hour and you expect a conversion rate of 5%, that means they will generate 5 qualified sales leads every 20 hours of calling, (20 hours of calls x 5 conversations per hour = 100 conversations @ 5% = 5 leads) which is 1 lead every 4 hours. This is also a good metric to set as an expectation and it can be refined over time.
5. Consider your qualification criteria carefully – don’t exclude potential ideal customers!
Qualification of potential leads is important as it ensures that the leads generated are valuable to your sales team, and ultimately profitable to the business. However, when you put your qualification criteria in place, they can have unintended consequences.
Let’s say you want your ideal market is companies who have a minimum of 25 vehicles in their fleet. If you make this part of your qualification criteria, your lead generator will not set appointments with companies who only have 22 or 18 vehicles in their fleet. Is that really what you would want? Or would you still want to receive these leads too? They may not be as valuable, but they might still be viable leads that you don’t want to miss out on. If you wanted these leads too but didn’t want your sales team spending too much time on these smaller opportunities, you could set up a different process for them; perhaps a phone appointment rather than a face-to-face meeting when the company has 10-25 vehicles. Or, you might channel these smaller opportunities to a more junior sales rep or a different sales team.
We know this article is titled ‘10 Tips for Successful Lead Generation’ here are the first 5, with 5 more to come in next months article, stay tuned…