The Smith Report - Operational Playbooks

How To Manage Inbound Sales Leads

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Last month there was a very interesting blog post entitled – Help! My Sales Team Thinks Our Inbound Leads SuckThe post highlighted various tactics to deploy to change the sales team’s attitude to embrace these beautiful things called inbound leads. Specifically it highlighted the need to treat them differently from outbound cold called leads.

Couldn’t agree more. However I’d like to highlight an approach that all sales team should be adopting that works for both outbound and inbound leads – The Prime Process.

Prime

Here are some highlights from The Prime Process with detailed links later for you to discover more.

  1. The Diagnostic Phase: Sales professionals need to understand that today we have reached the phase of Problem Finding not Problem Solving. Problem solving can only happen after a sales professional is able to define the right problem. On many occasions the prospect will have defined the perceived problem they have – I need a sales trainer, I need more staff, I need an xyz machine – sadly there is a high probability they have defined the wrong problem. Thus whether the prospect has searched for the problem or not there remains the danger that the prospect thinks they have a problem which they do not. So in the case of both cold calling prospects and in bound prospects (calls or form fillers) sales professionals need to develop the ability to Diagnose the problem thus confirming the problem has been defined correctly or redefining the problem. Think of a patient who has spent some time on WebMD telling his doctor that they have all the symptoms for Lyme disease. “Could you write me a little prescription for antibiotics and I’ll be on my way?”
  2. Inbound leads can be a sales professional’s nightmare – the time wasting positive prospect who likes to talk.
    However if a Prime like process is deployed, the questions you ask in a timely manner will clarify the real situation, the real problem, and the real consequences in the context of the prospect’s world.
  3. The Diagnostic phase also establishes the relationships of the prospect’s team. The boss, the associate, the influencer.
  4. The process forces one agenda constantly – can I as a world class sales professional improve the life of my prospect, can I serve before I sell?
  5. The process also allows for the “parking ” of a prospect if they are not ready. Some prospects are just not ready to engage in a solution. They are not prepared to put a priority on the problem. Solution – exit gracefully and pass to marketing for further nurturing.
  6. The world of selling has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. It has moved away from an interruption based model of persuasion to an attention gathering model based on trust.  But the question you need to ask: Has my sales team been retrained to cope in this new world. A sure symptom that they need retrained? – When you hear them say - Help! My Sales Team Thinks Our Inbound Leads.

See my previous posts on Prime:

 My Experience with The Prime Process

Why Salesforce won’t increase Sales 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

Ian founded The Portfolio Partnership (TPP) in 2010. TPP is an operational consultancy focused on scaling private businesses safely. He believes his resume of building 4 previous businesses from publishing, investment banking to software in Europe and the States gives him a unique set of skills and a sense of humor. He remains a competitive masters track & field athlete and in 2012 was ranked #2 indoors in the world for his age at 400m.

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