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Lead GenerationIt has been common knowledge that in today’s world of Internet and social media, traditional selling techniques are challenged.  We hear lots of voices and opinions:  Sales is dead, cold calling is dead, B2B telemarketing is not working any more. The reality is that technology and the Internet have changed the sales process forever, but the need for one-to-one interactions between sellers and buyers is still there – people buy from people they like and trust. According to Ken Krogue from InsideSales.com, many companies realize that they need to break the sales role into two; closers and appointment setters. This supports my earlier notion that sales and lead generation requB2Be different sets of skills and routines.

“Companies realized that they could be more leveraged if they broke the sales role into closers and appointment setters.” – Ken Krogue

We all lived and matured in business using business development tools such as direct mail and telemarketing. In fact, for many business owner, it was the only way to get information on what was new out there. These activities many not be fun, but were commonly accepted and cost-effective. These activities were later downsized and partly replaced by email marketing and Internet advertising.

As we carry out more lead generation tools and activities, our customers continued to change. With technology our companies downsized more and more and there were more and more tasks to do. With the workload and stress level rising, people have less tolerance for outbound marketers and often it is very difficult to prove the ROI on these efforts because of first call rejection.

It even became hard to hire people willing to do telemarketing and outbound sales. With decreased budgets for business development and the high cost of outbound telemarketing, many companies and sales teams heavily rely on “inbound” lead generation achieved by business networking, SEO marketing and inbound email nurturing. However, as expensive and easier on sales people these methods are, they alone are not generating enough leads and the cost per qualified lead remains high.

So, how do we find the sweet spot? First we need to stop searching for quick fixes, roll up our sleeves, and start planning:

1. Create a long-term business strategy with realistic financial forecasts.
2. Identify monthly business development budgets.
3. Identify a sales organization structure, salesperson profiles, skills, performance benchmarks, etc.
4. Complement our sales organization with outsourced lead generation and sales staff outsourcing companies to make maximum ROI.
5. Implement effective CRM technology to keep our lead generation investment.
6. Continue monitoring actual results vs. forecasts and adjust budgets and strategies.

This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s the only way. In this market shortcuts, quick fixes, majors and magicians will not work. And trying do it over and over is madness.