Lead Generation: Turning a Cold Call into a Warm Call

By Jim McAvoy Founder & President, JWMcAvoy & Company Ltd. | June 11, 2010

Question: What do "gargling bleach," "crawling over broken glass," and "having a root canal done without Novocain" all have in common? Answer: These are all activities that high-performing sales professionals have claimed they would do rather than spend time "cold calling" and focusing on lead generation–related activities.

While lead generation has always been an important topic, it is an issue that has really jumped onto center stage over the last couple of years. Although the growth of technology has helped in the gathering of leads, the conversion factor has not increased. So the critical question we need to explore is: how do sales professionals reliably increase their reservoir of qualified leads, and ultimately convert them to revenue?

Sales professionals consistently acknowledge that the initial step in most sales processes is prospecting-an activity they typically don't enjoy as they don't have the time or the interest to efficiently and effectively execute the tasks associated with successful prospecting. It is no wonder that 60% of sales leaders say their sales departments are not qualifying leads as well as they should.

Recent research shows us just how important effective lead generation is to sales force effectiveness and productivity. In fact, the 2009 B2B Lead Generation Benchmark Study found the following:

  • The overwhelming majority (94%) of survey participants use more than four different lead generation tactics to get the job done, which is a major drain on time and staff resources.
  • Companies that invest a larger percentage of their marketing budget in lead generation generally have better sales results than those who invest a smaller percentage.
  • A majority (60%) of the companies reported that their outside sales teams find less than half of their opportunities in the sales pipeline on their own, and 40% reported that their outside sales teams find less than 30% of the pipeline opportunities needed.

A proven approach is the five-stage process known as L.E.A.D.S.TM that aims at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the front-end portion of the sales function within an organization. Said another way, no matter what industry you are in, L.E.A.D.S. will provide you with strategies to convert a "cold call" into a "warm call" and in turn drive organic revenue.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

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