Blog Archives

The Networker’s Lament – A Doggerel on Mishandling Leads

I met her at a network group.
We chatted over onion soup.
Her business seemed to need my stuff.
Her current stuff? Not good enough.

We said we’d chat in a couple of days,
Exchanged our cards, then parted ways
I stacked her card with all the rest.
Gave it a star, ‘cause it was best.

I really planned on tweeting tweets
And setting up some real life meets.
I’d like her page and she’d like mine.
Our businesses would soon align.

When morning came, I had some tea.
I knew the task awaiting me.
My laptop squarely in my lap,
I’d enter names in my contact app.

First, I’d make a call or two,
Then out the door, with things to do.
The stack of cards just shrank away
To the far, far back of my action tray

Strong leads they were. I know I missed ‘em.
I never put them in the system.
“It’s okay” I sighed, with a droop.
“There’s always another network group.”

If you’d like to discuss setting up a process so this doesn’t keep happening to you, please reach out to me.

Marketing Is Worthless If You Don’t Convert Leads

There are many different types of marketing, each having a specific goal. At a high level though all marketing has the same goal – To generate interest in your product. It is about getting people to raise their hands and acknowledge that they are aware of what you sell, and there is a possibility that they are interested in making a purchase.

There a soft value to putting your name in front of as many people as you can. Brand awareness can be critical to a company’s success. While it’s not a bad thing to increase awareness of your product or service the question becomes that in terms of ROI, marketing programs are often measured using circumstantial evidence.

The bottom line goal of every company is to increase profit.  That’s why profit is on “the bottom line” of a financial analysis.  There are only two ways to improve profitability – increase revenue or decrease expenses.  The prime revenue source for a company is sales.

Take a look at this sales results graph from a hypothetical company that launched a new marketing campaign in January and ended it in May.  “Sales Results” is typically defined as orders that are delivered and invoiced.

With complete certainty we can state that the marketing program was PROBABLY a driving factor in the sales increase that began in February, continued to rise until about 30 days after the program ended. We deem the marketing program a success.Are there other factors that could be the root cause of the increase in sales?  Of course there are.  Better inventory management, improved shipping measures, better invoicing procedures – just to name a few.

So how do you actually measure the success of a marketing plan if not on sales results. It depends on the objective of the  program.  The most common type of program for small and medium businesses generally has the objective of increasing the number of “Leads”, “Inquiries” or “Requests for information.”

So at the end of the day if the number of leads received during the run of a program went up, the program can be declared a success regardless of the sales results.   Sort of like a surgery that is deemed successful regardless of whether the patient lives or dies.

What exactly is the value of a lead?  I would submit that if you don’t do anything with the lead, it has absolutely no value.  Another way of putting it is this: “A Lead and $2.25 will get buy you a ride on the subway.”

Soooooo – acquiring the lead is important, but selling to the prospect is equally important.  If you don’t have a specific plan to follow-up and close as many of the leads as possible, the money you spend on marketing could be wasted.

As Jerry Seinfeld might say “You know how to GET the lead, you just don’t know how to SELL to the lead.”

Sorry! I’m Really Swamped!

So your spouse asks you on Monday morning if you can pick up the dry cleaning today. You say you will do it the next day as you are “really swamped and just don’t have the time.”


As you’re packing up your stuff to leave, you scan your email Inbox and notice a promo piece from a big electronics store with the subject line Selected Laptops 30% Off – Today Only.  You have been needing a new laptop for a while so you click the link in the email to see if there’s a suitable model.  You find one.  The normal price is $699 – on sale today only for $489.

You somehow manage to Read the rest of this entry

LEAD MANAGEMENT PROJECT: Step #1 – Gather

I wrote earlier that you should have ZERO TOLERANCE for not having a documented “next step” for EACH AND EVERY name in your database.

This is the first in a series of posts on how to get there and what to do next.  When you’ve completed all the actions in this series you should have a crystal clear picture of how to begin using the vast amount of information you already have to increase your sales.  Read the rest of this entry

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR INACTION

This is a pretty simple concept that is often missed.

100% of the names in your database must have a NEXT ACTION assigned to them.

The action may be to reach out to them once a year – if you don’t record that plan in your system you will forget about them.

It doesn’t matter if they’re a strong, high probability prospect or a weak “never likely to buy” lead, the fact is that you will never sell to them if you never contact them again.

If you truly believe that there is absolutely no value in every reaching out to them again – throw their name away! If you keep it, plan your next action.

Got it?

COLD CALLING IS NOT PART OF A SALES REP’S JOB

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 Read the rest of this entry