At your company, does your sales process lead to month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter sales results that resemble a roller coaster ride with great highs followed by deep lows? Do you have wildly fluctuating sales? If so, then “Houston, we have a problem.”
Let me describe what I often see happening. Your practitioners, professionals or sales team are tasked with finding most of their own leads. They work hard, build up their pipeline and find a few deals. Then, they focus on these deals and hopefully win their fair share. Many times professionals are then tasked with delivering the work. But whether you have dedicated sales people or delivering professionals, the pipeline that was once full now becomes empty. As a result, you will regularly experience the highs and lows of your sales results.
Incredibly Common Issue
Believe it or not, this is a very common issue. But more than that, it is a behavioral problem. What are the symptoms we look for in finding the root causes of the problem? This is not an exhaustive list, but see if you recognize any of these statements:
- “I’m so busy working the deals I have, there is no time to prospect.”
- “If I win these deals, I will make my quarter.”
- “The client is insisting on my presence regularly, so I can’t build my pipeline.”
- “Prospecting is not my favorite thing to do, but I understand why it’s important.”
- “It seems we have no lead generation process, which would help a lot.”
The Root Cause
The issue is usually two fold. One, most people, including professional sales people, do not like to prospect. Building pipeline takes consistent dedication and strong discipline. There are volumes written on this topic, but the bottom line is that prospecting time must be a regular part of the sales process and any weekly schedule, with no “ifs, ands, or buts.”
The second reason for the sales roller coaster is the lack of qualified leads generated by dedicated marketing efforts. Depending on your industry and market, we generally expect about one-third to one-half of an organization’s qualified leads should come from a dedicated digital marketing process. This means that a sales organization without this lead generation effort is missing out on almost half of the total annual leads they could have. Do the math for your business and my guess is that this is a very large number in missed potential revenue.
Your sales teams should always have prospecting responsibilities. They will have referrals, networks and other relationships that are invaluable to filling their pipelines. But, in today’s digital world the ability to generate steady lead flow to your sales process is quite exciting. Buyers are online and searching for everything imaginable. Today, it is imperative that B2B firms have a strong online presence, great content and an active marketing program to distribute that content.
So, let’s get off that sales roller coaster and the nausea it causes and invest in lead generation programs that will help your sales process soar.