In the last few years, data lists have become a useful tool for sales people. However, the list won’t create new leads on its own.
Imagine a world where you have the winning lottery numbers before they come out of the machine. You’re not going to be a mega-millionaire by simply sitting on that information- you have to go out there and play those numbers. You have to be in it to win it! The same theory applies to data and lead generation.
Data is a great asset for a sales person to have because it gives the hope of overwhelming opportunity. You see a massive list of potential prospects and think to yourself, “These are hundreds of potential meetings that can lead to contracts.” But when those leads don’t respond, admittedly, there is a feeling of failure and self-doubt that sets in. This is where the hard work begins.
Once you get going you’ll realize that only a small percentage of the recipients will respond to your inquiries at all. Put yourself on the other side of this equation for a second- are you going to respond to someone speaking to you for the first time out of the blue? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean they won’t buy; it means you are now going to have to starting selling.
You can have hundreds or thousands of contacts, but if you’re not connecting with them using a value-based message, you’re missing the big picture. More often than not, it’s going to take some work and time before you start seeing results, or even making initial contact; so let’s get that Mac or PC working to get your value down in a letter. It requires you, your manager and your subject matter experts to focus the material on your prospect, not YOU. Work through your prospects’ pain points and identify how you can help them with the tools/services you have available. Then craft the message. The hardest part is that 99% of the time we want to talk about ourselves- BIG mistake! Tell your reader a story about people/situations similar to them and how you understand their pain points. Being a sincere listener and storyteller are very important traits of a great lead generator and sales person.
Let’s touch on another key component, and that is the fact that sales are all about trial-and-error and putting your ego aside. It is one of the few jobs where you can fail an overwhelming amount of times, but still have success in a limited number of opportunities. Check your ego at the door.
In addition to your data, you need a data scientist and a process scientist (Thank you @MarcusLemonis of “The Profit”). Like having an insurance broker or manager of your money, data experts are fully engaged and know how to use data to get you the meetings—the contracts. You have to be reactive, timely, comfortable, a hunter and more. If it is not your expertise then step aside and let someone invested in data do it for you. All the systems in the world are useless unless you know how to work the data. Special tools exist that allow you to work the process quickly and efficiently, or you can have them created for you. It’s not easy it can be hit or miss at times in a large and diverse cast of talented targets. It takes patience – the time commitment to read about the industry and reach out to contacts. It takes more than a 9-5 schedule in order to be spontaneous and available for different time zones.
The expert knows the industry, its readers and the right type of email style, content and length. He or she is someone truly experienced in rolling up their sleeves and doing real lead generation. Again it is not completely about you; it is about how to relate and write about the problems your prospect is having and how they can be resolved. It doesn’t mean you need perfection in how you deliver your message, but it had better have substance. So many worry about the letter being perfectly aligned but miss the point to ensure the content is rich with data and substance.
If you are a perfectionist or a micro-manager, you kill the spirit one gets into working through the data. Data is a living thing so you move fast, you go in for the attack, you get shot down, and you think quickly to go back in. There are no scripts, specific procedures or reports that are going to get that next lead. It is well worked data and your hunter mentality of a lead generator that wins the leads. To recap:
- Start with a decent data list
- Get a data expert/lead generator that has a hunter mentality, experience working through a process;
- Ensure this person is persistent, understands the industry and can go head-to-head with various levels of industry specialists
- Be spontaneous but responsible
- Understand your targets’ pain
- Gather your data points
- Leave ego at the door
How are you doing with lead generation?
Susan Walsh is the owner of Sales-Link Inc. helping companies find new business.