Sunday, April 15, 2012

Can you double your sales this year?

I bet most of you can.

It’s simply physics. You don’t put enough leads at the top of the funnel, you don’t get enough sales at the bottom.

Yes, I am sure you can plug some of the holes in your leaky funnel and improve your conversion rates. But as long as your conversion rate is greater than zero, more leads at the top mean more sales at the bottom.

As a matter of fact, the more leads you pour at the top of the funnel the higher your conversion rate should be. When salespeople have too few prospects to work on, you see the kind of wishful thinking that results in chasing low-probability opportunities and overoptimistic forecasts.

When salespeople have plenty of leads, they can be more selective and focus their time on the higher-probability / higher-value opportunities, which should increase closing rate and average deal size.

So what are some quick ways to generate more leads at the top of the funnel?

First, do more.
If you currently run one campaign a month, do two instead. That will double the number of leads you have. If you do two, make it three. That’s 50% more leads. You get the idea. Don’t be afraid to do more. 

As we have shown before, as long as you deliver value to your audience, touching your contact list more often will actually increase your response rate and decrease the opt-out rate.

Make a schedule and stick to it.
If your plan calls for one campaign a month and you let each campaign slip by just one week, by the time the year is over you have 20% fewer leads.  Ouch!  

Don’t confuse lead generation with selling.
The purpose of lead generation is to create a conversation, not to sell. The most successful lead generation campaigns I have been involved in had little (or nothing) to do with the product we were trying to sell. But they had interesting content that delivered value to our audience and helped our salespeople start a conversation.

Focus on results.
We marketers are often guilty of focusing on making things pretty, clever, “creative.” The cold reality shows us that in most cases these make little to no impact on the results that really matter – number of qualified leads.

Whatever you put in front of your customers and prospects has to be of value to them. But it doesn’t have to be perfect in order to bring value. So when you get to these last tweaks that may push you past the deadline, let it go.

Done is better than perfect.

You can do it on a budget.
Let’s make it clear. You will have to spend money in order to generate leads. You are probably spending money already, so can you generate more leads with the same budget? In many cases the answer is yes.

For example, repackaging an existing piece of content and sending a simple email to promote it will cost you just a fraction compared to a fancy webinar with an industry analyst, yet can generate just as many leads.

I’d be happy to share many more ideas for generating more leads and helping you double your sales. I would be even happier to hear some of your ideas. Just drop me a note or reply with a comment!

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