“I am getting a little worried. I’m not getting any results from my lead generation activities. I've done a ton of activities, but all to no avail. No bites, no sales conversations … nada,” a sales rep lamented to me this week.
“I’ve changed my target market. I’ve changed my prospecting activities. Why isn’t lead generation working for me?” She was nearly in tears.
Here you are, thinking you or your sales team is doing everything right, but nobody seems interested. Not only are there no new appointments, but prospects aren’t even returning the ninth email or tenth phone call.
Here’s the deal: the biggest challenge with lead generation, both sales prospecting and marketing campaigns, is that it takes time for you to see the results.
And the longer it takes, the more you begin to doubt your strategy.
You decide to tweak a little of this: your message, frequency of contact, and prospecting approach strategy. Then you tweak slightly bigger things: the target contact, lead generation activities, and more messaging.
You beg to throw some money at social advertising and Google AdWords. Your battle cry: “nothing is working. We must change!”
Then suddenly you’re making major adjustments: switching your target market, changing the solution you’re focusing on – even giving up entirely on sales prospecting.
But still lead generation isn’t yielding the results you expected.
The answer to the big question of why lead generation isn’t working, is counterintuitive. You’d think that when things aren’t working, you need to change something. Anything. Just to get noticed. To get someone to pay attention. But in lead generation, often the opposite is true.
You have to keep doing what you’re doing. Be persistent. Give the activities time to get noticed. Give your message a chance to be heard by your target market.
We know that in sales prospecting it can take 9+ attempts to get a prospect to return your call. If you give up after only 6 or 8 attempts, you’ve wasted your time. This metric is compounded when you don’t have any Recognition ROI in your target market. Many sales reps give a lead generation campaign 90 days, sometimes 6 months to perform. But a new prospecting list and a new target market take a minimum of 6 months to notice you. On average, we’re seeing that it can take 9 months for contacts to start responding.
Rather than change everything, stay the course. Give your lead generation time to get noticed before you make major adjustments.
With a new prospect list, you have to keep at it, persistently, consistently. Don’t give up. Stay focused. Suddenly things start popping. Email click-through rates increase. More prospects respond to emails. Appointments start coming.
Does this mean that you should wait a year if nothing is happening and you have a quota to meet? Definitely not. But before you claim that “nothing” is happening in your lead generation, take a closer look at the metrics to be sure. “Nothing” means no opens, no clicks, no responses, no conversations, no appointments.
Poor results are more frequently an indicator of a cold prospect list where you are slowly building recognition for your company and your offerings. And the only solution to poor results is time.
If you keep focusing on your target market, making minor tweaks, studying the trigger events generating even minor results, perfecting your approach, using the message you’ve created, expanding on the message, building your list, communicating with your list, posting new blog posts to LinkedIn, calling, asking for referrals, gathering testimonials, promoting testimonials – doing the lead generation and prospecting, it will work for you.
There is no magic pill that will transform your sales pipeline. Only consistent, persistent lead generation will do that.
If you would like assistance putting your lead generation and prospecting strategy in place and launching it, or in assessing your current lead generation results, let me know. We can help.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award winning books “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.