Thursday, January 3

Sales lead management for consultants 

I wrote the following for Sales & Marketing Management and wanted to share it with you here as well:

If you want to start increasing your percentage of closed sales, one simple way to start would be to increase your awareness of sales lead management - the tightly-linked sequence of steps that your own particular sales process involves.

Here is an example of what a well-linked sales lead management process might look like:

1. Research industry, company, decision-makers, and current business situation.
2. Send relevant article /tip sheet/ newsletter.
3. Send introductory letter and 2nd info item of value. Mention intention to call.
4. Call to set appointment.
5. First appointment - listen, share, verify and apply research from Step 1.
6. Mention follow-up and next step (another appointment, a free trial, assessment, phone call, etc) and set specific date.
7. Send follow-up item addressing specific issues from appointment learnings/ discoveries or needs assessment. Set meeting to discuss and customize.
8. Compile and send needs assessment findings.
9. Second appointment. Address questions, issues and ask for go/no-go decision.
10. Submit proposal with three options.
11. Third appointment to discuss proposal details, options, pricing, timing
12. Implementation decisions: payment terms, delivery schedule, etc.

The overall idea is to never move off the current step in your process without agreement on the next specific step. Make sure YOU remain in charge of the process; this is proactive selling.

Get agreement and follow up with a reminder of the agreed-upon steps, meetings, dates, etc. The linkage of “agreement to agreement” also gets the prospect in the mindset of saying YES to you, which during the final agreement [closing] will be important.

Use broad (and thus comfortable, non-confrontational) checkpoint questions such as “Does this make sense?” or “Would this make a difference to your situation?” or simply “What would you like me to do next?”

Set up a clearly defined, well-linked sales process, and then use lead management systems to automate, track, distribute, and report on the results. But using sales systems without an underlying consistent sales process is just sloppy selling.

-- David 610.716.5984

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