Marketing and sales are different.
You know that, right? No, seriously?
Contrary to general perception; yes, both functions are very important for growth of a business; but they are different in their own ways.
Nowadays, the way sales team and marketers work, their work territories are converging and that’s why sales team and marketers have to work together. But that doesn’t mean they do the same job.
Let’s take an example of Lead Generation Vs Sales Prospecting.
Lead generation and sales prospecting aims to grow the business. But business owners seems to assume that it is one and the same thing.
They are not! May be, because of the budget constraints, agencies or other business owners do the business development activities themselves, they end of doing more of sales prospecting and less of lead generation.
Have you realised this?
Digital economy is transforming how businesses are run, we have to embrace lead generation as well as sales prospecting in their new forms.
But before I take you through the new forms of digital business development techniques, let’s understand lead generation, sales prospecting and difference between them.
What Is The Difference: Lead Generation Vs Sales Prospecting?
It is typically a marketing function, usually thought out as a long term strategy to build sales pipeline.
Two goals drive the lead generation process
- Awareness about product, services, company, brand, etc
- Initiate conversation, nurture and engage leads
In today’s business environment, business buyers have greater awareness than before, they conduct their own research before selecting or contacting vendors/suppliers. They look at product/service review site (like clutch, Capterra, G2crowd), they look at vendor website, look at case studies, recommendations and so on in order to shortlist vendors.
It has become very imperative to get into the ‘CONSIDERATION SET’ of the buyer (i.e. you can identify him/her before it turns into a potential buyer). If you do not figure in the consideration set, it is unlikely that your agency/business will figure in the shortlist of a vendor.
Why do you need to run lead generation program?
In order to get into buyer’s ‘Consideration set’ and keep up/grow potential buyer’s interest so that our company/product/service offering get ‘Shortlisted’.
The objective of the lead generation program (in this context typically it is called inbound marketing) is help the potential client to easily discover our business, its product/services/brand (i.e. get figured into buyers consideration set).
In order to keep generating leads, keep them interested in our business proposition (i.e. to nurture leads) so that sales team will have enough pipeline to meet business targets.
Lead Generation Techniques/ Process
- Define ideal customer profile
- Write content regularly targeted for target customer
- Content marketing, conduct webinars, events
- Induce lead to provide his/her contact information
- Use CRM tools to capture lead information and schedule email marketing campaigns
- Regularly share engaging content to nurture leads
- Track lead’s interaction with marketing emails, marketing collaterals/contents
- Uncover the hottest lead (very promising, urgent) and qualify those
- Categorise leads whether it is Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or not
- Handover the MQL leads to sales team with insights & other gathered information
This is where the sales process kicks off.
Sales prospecting is typically a sales function, usually thought out as a regular but short term strategy to convert leads into prospect and in turn get the business from buyers.
Why do you need to run sales prospecting?
The answer to above question is obvious one. But let me add few points to it.
Yes, there are business growth targets, sales target to meet. That’s what sales people do.
Sales prospecting is holistic way of growing the business based on the lead-data set, intelligence gathered by lead generation program.
The insights received from lead generation program are immensely helpful and can be leveraged using sales prospecting to chase only those prospects having chances of maximum conversion.’
Sales Prospecting Techniques/ Process
- Use insights received from lead generation team
- Schedule a introductory call (typically a cold call)
- Identify budget, know who is buyer, who are decision maker, who are influencers, etc
- Review conversations and inputs from lead generation team to further qualify prospect; also called as sales qualified lead (SQL)
- Arrange the product/service demo/pitch for SQL
- Nowadays, sales team uses Account Based Marketing (ABM)
- Based on the meeting/demo/discussion write sales proposal, also update client details in CRM system
- Follow proposal checklist, avoid common proposal writing mistakes and create impressive sales proposals
- Address concerns, add clarifications to questions/clarification raised by prospect
- Apply proven sales closing techniques, experiment and refine those techniques
- If everything goes well, send contract details and get client to sign the document i.e. close the deal
Yet, both are essential in driving net new clients for your business.
It is no brainer to image if someone wants to completely optimise the sales process it needs to have an effective lead generation strategy, and it needs to be coupled with sales prospecting processes.