Doing more means selling less.

Wondering how to generate leads—not just smoke-and-mirror leads, but only qualified leads? Every account based selling rep asks that question, and pretty much every survey of sales leaders confirms that lackluster lead generation is also their chief concern. No question about it. Finding those qualified leads takes time and resources, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to reach decision-makers.

So, what do account based selling teams do? Most scramble to assemble every available technology to track down prospects and fill their pipelines. They figure the best strategy for how to generate leads is to research trigger events, send prospecting emails, reach out on social media, cold call, and invite prospects to events.

The more activities, the better—bring them on! They believe the more outreach they do and the more technology they use, the more prospects they’ll have in their pipelines, and the more likely they are to score meetings. More, more, more. It’s madness.

Why Less Is More in Account Based Selling

When it comes to lead generation, “more isn’t necessarily better,” writes Barb Giamanco in her brilliant post, “The Myth of More.” To prove it, she cites a powerful statistic from Jeff Koser’s book Selling to Zebras: “The most competitive company in an industry closes about 15 percent of its forecasted sales, and its competitors close another 15 percent. 70 percent of the prospects in an industry—the sales everybody is fighting for—will never buy from anyone.”

So, if your account based sales development revolves around filling your pipeline with more and more prospects, you’re just filling it with more people who don’t want to buy. That’s nonsense.

Barb goes on to write:

Why are time and energy continually spent on opportunities that are never going to go anywhere? The answer is quite simple. Most sales organizations follow an activity-driven sales approach and the thinking is that all activity is the right activity, which will lead to the right results. And when the going gets tough, as in sales objectives aren’t being met, a large majority of sales leaders subscribe to the philosophy that more activity is even better. Um. No. More isn’t necessarily better … 

A better approach is focusing on the right prospects, which includes going deeper into current customer accounts, and stop insisting that your salespeople chase anyone with a pulse. Even if you think that’s not what you are communicating to your salespeople, when you insist on more activity, invariably people will focus on any activity to satisfy your request. Instead of chasing anyone who might be able to buy from you, your salespeople should be focusing all of their attention on only going after your ideal prospect.

(Read the rest of Barb’s article for more on how to attract your ideal prospects.)

Land and Expand with Referrals

Are your sales reps running around in circles chasing leads that will never pan out? Account based sales development shouldn’t be that tough. After all, your ideal prospects are the friends and colleagues of your current customers, and if you’re doing good work for them, they’ll happily refer you to their networks.

When account based selling teams prospect through referrals, all their sales leads are qualified. They gain access to decision-makers. They are credible and trusted. They know the players, the budget, and what they need to do to win the deal. They have meaningful business conversations and get information others don’t.

Nothing matters more than quality lead generation, and referrals are lead generation at its purest. Wondering how to generate leads? No longer.

Take the next step. Contact Joanne to discuss a referral program for your account based selling team, or invite her to speak at your sales kickoff or sales meeting. Call 415-461-8763 or email