sales leadsSales leaders’ chief concern is lackluster lead generation, according to new CSO Insights study.

Greg had barely taken his seat when he told me his greatest challenge was getting his sales reps to generate enough qualified sales leads. His company was a fairly new player in his industry, and they were competing against “the big guys.” So, his salesmen and women were struggling to engage prospects who didn’t even know their company existed.

It was glaringly obvious to me that a well implemented referral program would address both of these issues … and more. The fastest path to generating qualified sales leads is for reps to receive referral introductions. Referred salespeople get in the door with one call. Problem solved.

But generating qualified leads isn’t just a problem for start-ups and other small businesses. The “2016 CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Study” reveals lead generation is the top priority for sales leaders this year.

The Universal Sales Challenge

CSO Insights asked more than 500 sales executives: “During the coming year, what sales effectiveness initiatives will you be undertaking to improve sales performance?”

The results:

Jim Dickie, a research fellow at CSO Insights (a division of MHI Global), discusses the report in his blog post, “Looking at the Wrong End of the Sales Funnel?He writes:

The SPO study surfaced another challenge that I would personally put at the top of the list, which is that we have a bigger opportunity closing challenge that needs to be addressed … 

The average competitive loss rate came in at 29.3%. Clearly, we can’t expect to win them all, but is losing 3 out of 10 acceptable? Then there is my real pet peeve: an average of 23.8% of those forecast opportunities ended as “no decisions.” Lots of time and effort invested not just by the salesperson, but also all the other resources they may have involved in the sales process along the way, and the net result is nothing?

So where and how are things falling apart? In looking at specific aspects of the sales cycle, several that sales teams are struggling to effectively execute included:

● Understanding the customer’s buying process
● Gaining access to all decision makers
● Conducting a thorough needs analysis
● Differentiating versus the competition
● Building a solid business case/ROI

These are all symptoms of key flaws in how we are selling. 

(Read the rest of Jim’s blog post for more.)

The Solution to Your Lead Generation Problem

Jim is absolutely right. Winning three out of 10 opportunities is dismal and certainly reveals “key flaws” in current sales practices.

Every sales leader wants to change these metrics. But how?

When salesmen and women prospect through referrals, all of their sales leads are qualified. They gain access to decision makers. They are credible and trusted, so they get the inside track. They know the players, the budget, and what they have to do to win the deal. They have meaningful business conversations and get information others don’t. Their buyers tell them the truth.

As a result:

  • The sales process shortens.
  • The cost of sales plummets.
  • The conversion rate of prospect to client is well more than 50 percent. (Most salespeople say it’s more than 70 percent.)

Don’t wait any longer to adopt a referral program for your sales team. Contact me today and learn how to get started. | 415.461.8763

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