Following-Up on Your Leads

When we generate a lead – if we've done our job right – it should be qualified according to the criteria on which we agreed when we wrote the Telemarketing Plan. This usually means that there is a decision-maker with a need, and he wants to talk to you about your solution. You're then supposed to take the ball and run with it, guiding the prospect through the sell-cycle and closing the sale. Let's talk about what that means.

The Sell Cycle

In order to understand what to do with a lead, we need to agree on how the sell-cycle works. In B2B sales, the model looks like this:

Although, as you can see, there are sometimes overlaps in the steps, the process generally starts with a Lead Generation phase (that's the part that we do,) where we reach the prospect, uncover some needs, introduce your solution, build some value, and get you in the door. The next step is where you Cover Your Bases by contacting additional decision influencers, uncovering additional needs, and building additional value so that the prospect develops a compelling rationale for the purchase. Finally is the Close, where a proposal is presented and a decision (that, hopefully, by now is a foregone conclusion,) is made to buy.

Making the Process Work

It's a simple process that can ring your cash register reliably and profitably. But if you don't understand it and implement it correctly, you can waste a lot of time and money. What are some of the things to watch out for?

  • Too many people assume that, when they get a lead, all they have to do is show up with an order form. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the B2B world, you have to Cover Your Bases: contacting additional decision influencers, uncovering additional needs, finding additional justification for the purchase, building additional value and engineering the close. (JV/M can implement this phase of the sell-cycle, too; and we often do. But we need to design this part of the process ahead of time, and allocate the resources necessary to do it.) Remember: while we have to build a lot of value in order to get a busy executive to grant us a few minutes of his time for an appointment, you usually have to build additional value in order to get him to buy.
  • Unless we bridge you right into the conversation we're having with the prospect, some time is going to pass before you follow-up on the lead. Don't assume that the prospect is still excited, or remembers who you are, the reason you're calling (or meeting,) or even what his problem is. In fact, it's better to assume that he doesn't remember. Always go back a few steps in the sales process: re-establish rapport, re-introduce your company with an Initial Benefit Statement, and get into "Question Asking Mode" so you can confirm your understanding of his needs, find more needs, and re-build the value proposition – before you present your solution.
  • And sometimes it may be necessary (or helpful,) for you to pass the lead back to us to finish developing it. For example, sometimes the prospect may want to have a technical discussion on the phone or see more information before granting a face-to-face appointment. In all likelihood, you will be better positioned to have that initial technical discussion, but we may be better positioned to build upon that conversation to secure the appointment because of a sales-skill, rapport or resource issue. It's important to recognize when the Lead Generation process requires a pass-back step, and use it, rather than be disappointed that the prospect didn't buy just because you passed a small technical or credibility hurdle.

There are several good references that we can recommend if you want more information about how the B2B sales process works. And we would be happy to provide coaching, and even pick up more of the sales process if you'd like. So please feel free to call your JV/M representative if you have any questions. Remember: we want you to be successful.

JV/M, Inc. 1221 N. Church St. Suite 202 Moorestown, NJ 08057 Tel: 856-638-0399 Fax: 856-316-7465
B2B Marketing Experts