Not all leads are alike. There are leads that sales gets through marketing efforts, leads that are sourced by sales people themselves, leads from trade shows, referral leads, etc. I could go on and on and on about different types of leads. Personally, I don't care where the lead came from. I care about why this potential lead (company) would be a good fit for what I sell or what I help with. Over time I have realized that most sales reps define their lead quality by a couple of things:
1. Sales people care about how the lead was generated. If the lead was an inbound lead generated through marketing efforts. Sales people typically grade their lead through what type of conversion the lead came through. Some reps even decide not to work a lead if the lead came through say an ebook or a white paper because they don't think the lead is "good enough." This decision is not only bad for the sales person but for the marketing team who ultimately attracted this lead through their work. Say the sales rep decides not to work the lead, marketing will probably start to nurture it which is good. But, imagine if the sales rep had done some research, reached out and learned more. They could have added useful information to the lead record and then marketing would have more information to use for their marketing efforts. Not only would this enable the company to do a better job pushing the lead to a point of potential qualification but the salesperson wouldn't have just assumed that this lead wasn't ready because of what they downloaded. Don't judge a lead by the conversion event or the way you got the lead. Do your own research on the company, think about what types of things would enable a company to buy and want your product- do they have those qualities? If yes, then work the lead. All leads have a chance. Some leads will have a higher chance of closing than others so do your research and work your leads smarter.
2. Reps tend to work the "lead" not the company. You may get a lead from a referral, from marketing, etc but it might not be the right person. That doesn't mean you should throw it out. First thing you should do is check out the company's website to see what you think. Is the COMPANY a good fit for what you solve for. If so, keep doing your research to see how you should work the lead in the first place. Work multiple people from the company and learn as much as you can about the people you are going after. Keep detailed notes in the description field in your CRM so that you know what to say when you start prospecting. The more you know the better armed you will be at converting the lead.
Why trigger events and what are trigger events? Trigger events are things that you know to be true of a lead/company that will make whatever you sell more timely and more relevant to the prospect. Think of what your product or service solves for and find reasons why that could likely be relevant or timely for your prospect.
Think about what causes a company to buy your product or service. For example at HubSpot, Marketers buy HubSpot because they need to do better with lead generation and marketing. They have revenue goals that they need to hit and they need or want to do that through online marketing. I work both inbound and sourced leads of my own at HubSpot but I NEVER just work a lead without doing research to see what types of trigger events are or are not happening at the company.
Let's take selling HubSpot as an example. This will probably help you to formulate what good types of trigger events could be for your sales process. I want to help you sell better and help you sell when your product/service might be more timely for your prospect. There are 2 main ways that I think you can figure out what your company's trigger events should be.
- Why does someone buy your product? What is your product solving for in the first place? This is a simple question but it will help you think about different things (trigger events) that could make your product/service more timely to your leads. At HubSpot marketers buy HubSpot because they need more leads. Naturally companies need more leads when they are for example: hiring more sales reps, adding more products, expanding into new locations, hired more marketers on their team, hired their first markter ever, went through a funding round, attend trade shows, etc. Think about what makes your product or service timely for your prospect. You will have an easier time introducing your product or service to them because you know that you might have a potential answer to their problem they are facing right now.
- Is what you sell timely for the company you are prospecting? This is BIG one. Something I have learned over the time I have been at HubSpot is that timeliness in the sales process is huge. First off, as a sales person you don't have endless time to just be going through your leads with no strategy. One of the ways that you can work smarter as a sales rep is if you approach your leads by asking yourself how timely is my product or service for this company? What makes me think this? Why? Figure out if there is some trigger happening internally at the company you are working by reading through their website, read press releases about the company, go on LinkedIn and find out as much as you can about the people who work there, go to the news section on their site. You will find out whether or not your product or service could potentially be timely for your lead by reading and researching. You should think of prospecting very simliarly to being a detective. You cannot have a decent prospecting process if you are not a good researcher or detective. Prospecting is hard and takes time. Make it easier on yourself by working leads harder where you know that what you are selling could be timely. Sometimes you will be right and sometimes you will be wrong, but at least you are giving yourself a better chance at success by doing that type of research.