When clients come to us for B2B Lead Generation services, they often think they need one thing (“more sales leads!”). Generally, they need something else… They need a better process for qualifying their existing sales leads, or a proven system to maximize their long-range business leads.
The B2B sales leads pipeline is a unique ecosystem – you need to know how to manage your business leads, conduct the most efficient appointment setting, and put solid processes in place to get the most out of all of your leads.
When developing your lead generation process, you need to take a holistic approach to your sales pipeline. It’s not just “finding more sales leads” to throw into the top of the sales funnel.
Instead, you often need to reassess how you’re managing sales leads at every step of the way.
Here are 5 signs that your sales lead pipeline needs some help:
1. You don’t have any new business appointments on your calendar.
When you are closing deals and setting up new clients, it can often be difficult to also “fit in” new business prospecting.
Due to the high level of rejection that occurs during cold calling many sales people have a love/hate relationship with conducting prospecting calls – so when they’re busy and “business is good,” it’s easy to put prospecting on the back burner.
Look back at your calendar and call records over the last 3-4 weeks and check to see how much time you have actually been spending (in the course of an average day and average week) on new business development. You probably need to adjust your time allocation.
Even when you’re swamped with business, you have to keep feeding the pipeline with new lead generation activities.
2. You just lost a large client and you don’t have any new clients ready to replace them.
These types of surprises can be avoided by keeping a monthly running total of how many new sales leads you have and what is going to close and when.
You can’t always predict when you are going to lose a client, but you can always forecast (and control to a reasonable extent) how many new business leads you have in your pipeline. Don’t get complacent with a big client who is covering your sales goals.
Staying hungry for new sales leads is the best way to ensure that you’ll never “go hungry.”
3. Proposals that were likely to close are stalling or gone.
Lead generation should not only be about finding new sales leads, but doing a better job of converting the sales leads that are already in your pipeline.
The crucial point to remember is that B2B sales leads are like sharks – they have to keep moving forward, or they die. Any business leads in your pipeline should be advancing toward closing the deal.
If not, it’s important to reassess your opportunities and downgrade them as soon as they show signs of weakness.
You need to relentlessly manage your pipeline so that your team of appointment setters isn’t wasting time on low-quality prospects (we fix this problem by pre-qualifying and generating only the highest quality leads).
Part of your lead generation needs to be to assess, re-evaluate and re-focus on existing B2B sales leads.
4. The deals that you are closing are too damn small.
There is nothing wrong with writing smaller deals especially if the account has long range potential.
The problem with smaller deals, however, is that they take time to grow…time that you may not have. Too many small deals can clog up your pipeline and create havoc with your sales forecasts.
The sad thing is that sometimes the smaller accounts often require as much time, care and energy as the larger accounts do.
It’s important to check your lead sources and do some research to understand why so many small deals are developing. Solid lead generation companies will help you read the data and make recommendations on how to boost the average size of your deals, leading to more profitable accounts.
5. Your most reliable lead sources are stuck in low gear.
A common problem we encounter is that many companies have great B2B sales leads in the pipeline, but just not enough of them. This puts a lot of pressure on you to close a high percentage of sales leads off a short list of pipeline prospects.
If pickings are slim in your favorite market, you might want to focus on vertical markets that you haven’t touched in a while (or at all). Overworking a segment of business that has been producing sales for you may be actually creating “over marketing” and stagnating the development of your pipeline.
So, what’s next?
The only way to have a healthy business is to have a healthy sales pipeline. If you have any of the signs listed above happening in your business, it’s time to reassess your lead generation and pipeline strategy.
Not sure where to start? Please let us know if you have any questions or need some help generating and nurturing quality leads.