Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Are You Ready for Influx of Leads?

Does Your Company Have the Infrastructure for Sales Growth?
One of the key things I do first when speaking to an SEO or marketing prospect is to find out what their goals are. This usually helps me to establish performance criteria and also to see what they are thinking.

A common request is to increase leads. After all, they want to make sales. Some get caught up with hearing about all of the marketing technology that can potentially draw leads. Some are able to spend the money. Others are not.

But one of the factors not a single one of them think about at this early stage is, do they have the infrastructure to handle the leads?

Your Company Sales Machine
Getting leads is only part of the battle. In fact, it's darn near establishing the beachhead - as we continue with the war illustration.

Getting leads only gets your foot at the door. Then there is lead qualification. What constitutes a lead?

In managed PPC campaigns, this is an important consideration and is integral in outsourced PPC management because the client is paying for results. But in a general marketing campaign, where communication is the key, this lead qualification step can be overlooked, mistakenly.

Now that you have quality leads, are you able to follow up? If you are handling 2 leads a day, are you able to handle 5 leads a day? Or are you able to handle 10-15 leads a day?

If you don't have the sales machine in place - the sales infrastructure to follow up on leads, nurse the leads, and close those leads - then your first step may not be marketing. You may need to build your internal staffing and lead management system.

A CRM system is one solution, but you should also clearly define your sales process. It may seem like a strange thing to do but knowing your own process helps you to keep track of your sales performance by more than just "hitting the numbers".

When you start in sales, like in the mortgage industry, you are told that it takes about 100 cold calls to take about 2 or 3 loan applications day (*these are based on my personal experience, not industry). It then takes about 10 apps to close a loan. Therefore, at least 100 calls day must be made.

Well, no company can give such instructions unless they have a sales process and have analyzed sales performance in such detail.

As an entrepreneur, you must commit more time to the details in order to be competitive with your bigger, older rivals.

Before you begin a quest for more leads, build your sales infrastructure first to be sure you'll be able to handle the influx of leads.


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