17 Jan 2013

Lead Generation Strategies for Inside Sales Managers

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So you’re in sales, what’s your lead generation strategy?

It’s critically important for inside sales to be tightly tied to lead generation. The Inside Sales Manager should work closely with the lead generation team to set a strategy, manage campaigns, and measure the results.

Consider this: Do your reps know what your prospects are currently doing to address their pain? Are your prospects using a competitive solution? What triggered your prospects to recognize that they had a problem in this area? Are your reps able to create pain for prospects that don’t know they have a problem?

As an Inside Sales Manager you need to have a clear understanding of your prospect’s pain and priorities, and how your solutions fit into their needs. This will help you determine which strategies, campaigns, messaging, etc. will resonate most with your prospects. To gain a better understanding of your prospect, work with your marketing team to:

  1. Understand the status quo – Often, the biggest competitor in a market is the status quo. This may include older versions of competitive solutions, your own solutions, or home-grown solutions.  Understanding what your prospects are doing now to address their pain is crucial. If prospects think their home-grown solutions are good enough, you need to figure out how to show them the cost of not changing.
  2. Identify trigger events – know what causes a prospect to feel the pain you solve. There may be specific events that trigger this pain, such as a change in leadership, downsizing, reorganizations, mergers, acquisitions, customer trends, industry trends, legislation, or any number of events that cause a company to reassess how they do business. Build campaigns and messaging around these events to help prospects understand how you solve their pain.
  3. Train Reps to create urgency – How often do you get a lead that is “just looking” or “still doing research”? Train your reps to create urgency with prospects.  Reps must take a careful approach, or they can risk aggravating a prospect and turning them off of your company. Help them understand the costs of not acting, but don’t be pushy if the timing is still not right. This is part of the lead nurturing process.
  4. Define the criteria for lead qualification – Be sure to have a solid lead-qualification process in place so that only sales-ready opportunities are passed to your sales team. Establish a definition for a qualified lead from marketing. Better yet, pass all marketing leads to a Lead Qualification Group, so that they can further qualify leads and generate Qualified Sales Opportunities (“QSOs”).
  5. Don’t ignore prospects – It’s good to target certain segments or verticals, but don’t ignore prospects who are genuinely interested if they are not from your target market. You may uncover a new market or segment that you hadn’t considered before. Study customers from non-target segments to highlight key indicators they demonstrated in the buying process that can be used to generate rules for following up on new prospects from non-target markets.
  6. Track relevant information – Create. Measure. Adjust. Repeat. Track as much relevant information as possible for late stage opportunities and closed deals. Information about the prospect’s pain, existing solutions, and triggering events can help you understand who to target and their level of qualification based on these indicators.
  7. Use marketing automation – If your marketing team isn’t already using marketing automation, encourage them to adopt an automation strategy. Marketing automation allows you to connect with prospects often and efficiently, to nurture them with relevant and targeted campaigns, and to measure the effectiveness of your marketing activities.

Following these steps will help you figure out the right lead generation strategy for your team. That said, it is just a place to start. The right mix of lead generation strategy and activities will fluctuate as your market changes, but the basic principles (the steps above) remain the same.

Post comments of what you are doing – your lead gen strategies, what’s working, what’s not – we’d love to hear from you!

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