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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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.