Find out how to unclog your sales pipeline.
Let me guess. Your lead generation process plays out like this: You don’t have enough leads in your pipe, and your reps aren’t calling high enough. You can’t count on accurate forecasts when pipelines are unqualified, so you’re never really sure whether your team will make quota until it’s too late.
Big problem—the kind of problem that will keep a sales leader up at night, or worse, get a sales leader canned.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. Reps say they’re challenged finding the right prospects. Once they think they’ve found them, they try every trick in the book to reach them—cold calling, emailing, sending videos, pitching on LinkedIn (bad move), more cold calling, and unrelenting emails.
In most cases, their lead generation process depends on marketing to round up online leads. No wonder it can take a dozen touches to reach prospects. Those leads are not qualified. Sounds like a waste of time to me.
If you’re teaching your reps how to prospect, is that how you want them spending their time? There is a better way, and I can prove it.
Do You Have a Referral Lead Generation Process?
Sales issues haven’t changed that much over the last 20 years. Yep, that long. What has changed is the abundance of technology tools, and with that change comes a huge risk. Reps over-rely on technology. They think technology can do their jobs. They’ve forgotten that technology doesn’t replace conversation. They’ve forgotten that their most powerful prospecting tool is referral sales.
Referred salespeople receive introductions to people they want to meet, and they get meetings in one call! But few companies make referral sales a significant part of their lead generation process.
That’s why I’m not surprised by the results of our Referral I.Q. Quiz. Answers have been consistent year over year. Salespeople say it’s easier to close a deal through a referral, and if they could get all their leads through referrals, they’d be more effective. Yet, nearly 80 percent say they don’t always get past the gatekeeper.
Why can’t they get past the gatekeeper? Because without a referral introduction, they’re cold calling.
Why aren’t sales teams getting more referrals? When asked if their referral sources know the top two reasons to refer them, and if everyone knows their ideal client profile, the majority of salespeople said no.
If referral sources don’t know the business reasons to introduce your team and are clueless about the key people your sales reps want to meet, your team has some serious skill gaps. And it’s high time to fix them.
Breeze Past the Gatekeeper with Referral Sales
A referral-based lead generation process is your team’s ticket into the C-suite. It’s the #1 way for your sales reps to land and expand in their named accounts. They reach the right person, get in early, earn trust and credibility, build strong relationships, and outsmart the competition.
Of course, reaching the right person at the right level typically means there’s a gatekeeper looming. Reps view gatekeepers like trolls guarding the bridge. The #1 reason sales teams find their job so daunting is they believe circumventing the gatekeeper is the answer to their prospecting woes. They’ve become convinced that digital technology should solve all their business development challenges, but there’s still no button to push that will make gatekeepers grant them access to decision-makers. That requires conversations and real-world relationship-building—skills that many salespeople have let become rusty.
There’s only one way to get past the gatekeeper, and that is to be an expected and welcome call.
That’s why, without a referral lead generation process, strategy challenges continue to escalate—despite all the promises that you’ve heard about how disruptive technology will automate online lead generation and make the process effortless, seamless, and scalable (you know, just throw together a lot of buzzwords and you’ve got the gist of it).
But technology doesn’t seal deals. People do. Your sales strategy isn’t working unless you have a pipe filled with referral business—i.e., qualified leads.
If you’re a sales leader and want to learn best practices for referral sales, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at +1 415-461-8763. We’ll schedule a short call. Curious how your team will score on the Referral I.Q. Quiz? If you have more than 10 sales reps, we’ll create a custom URL for your team, and work with you to analyze the results.