This is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of cold calling.  In some models, it makes sense, in some it doesn’t.

This post isn’t just about cold calling – it is about all lead generation activities.  Lead Generation is a marketing function.

I draw a distinct line between marketing and selling.

  • Marketing: Reaching out to potential buyers with the goal of having them raise their hand and say “I’m interested in discussing your product.”
  • Sales: Working with those folks who raised their hand with the goal of closing a sale.

Once you embrace this concept, you’ll see that the time spent on lead gen (or any marketing activity) means that the individual working these activities is NOT working on sales activities.

Sales activity is the part where revenue is generated.

That’s all fine and good but what if you are a small organization or a single practitioner and you don’t have a separate marketing person?

I’m glad you asked.

I am not advocating that a sales person cannot also do lead gen.  In smaller organizations, people often wear many hats.  If you are a single practitioner, you are likely to be the sales person, marketer, accountant, and maintenance.

What I’m advocating is simply that we must acknowledge the fact that lead gen and sales are different functions.

If you have the luxury of splitting the functions between two people or departments you should do so.  You should measure and track the activities based on the goal of the function.

If you don’t have that luxury, then you must be cognizant that lead gen and selling are two different hats.  Allocate your time for each of these functions separately.  Recognize that lead gen time takes away selling time and selling time takes away lead gen time. If you “get on a roll” in one function you may let the other slip – and both are vital.

Schedule time for lead gen (cold calling, responding to lit requests, email newsletters, etc) and devote that time to that function.  Schedule time for selling and devote that time to that function.

Wear however many hats your business model requires you to, but list and define all your hats and never let any of them get dusty.

Posted on August 1, 2010, in Marketing, Sales, Sales Management and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Completely agree. Sales as a profession is so much more appealing when Marketing is doing the lead gen, through Search Engine optimization, working with lead gen sites, building a better website (that generates phone, web chat and email leads), working social media, as well as traditional and web based advertising, etc.

    Too many people call the results of good marketing “order taking”, completely discounting the fact that good sales reps win more than their share of deals on skill, and build from there, through customer add-ons and referrals, adding referral agents, etc. Cold calling via phone or worse, carrying a bag, is horrible, depressing work. Going to lead gen groups, working chambers of commerce, etc., is slightly less onerous, depending on your personality, but technically, all cold calling is marketing….finding leads. Closing leads is sales.

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