Archive - September 2016

Lead Generating with Social Media is only Half the Battle.

lazy salesRecently, I spoke to an organization that spent an ungodly amount of time, energy, and money on Social Media to create Lead Generation. So my question was, “Now what?” They asked, “What do you mean?” I said “Okay, so you got a whole bunch of people calling you or contacting you through a web form, email etc. How’s your closing ratio?” They looked at me like I had three heads.

The issue is a simple one, just because we believe that we have found a new way to generate business, it is not generating business…alone. Lead generation is Interest; lead generation is getting people to the door. Are they coming over the threshold and are you closing the door behind them? That’s a very important step. One without the other will result in no revenue.


Between Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and Bing ads on any of the Social Media sites, Blogs amongst other things we do today to build leads is it really working? That’s one question. If we’re doing all of the things that we need to do in Social Media and all the ‘white noise’ is going out, what is it bringing us? Well, it should be bringing us Leads. It should be bringing us Emails, filling out contact Information or a website, web forms and phone call, and if that’s happening, Great you have reached step one. This is a very important step but it is ONLY step one.

The million-dollar question is “Now What?”

It’s important to make sure that we know once people contact us or when we contact them back, we are using the right process to follow up from any kind of lead generation that we get. Are we setting some ground rules at the beginning of the conversation? Are we asking well? Thought provoking open-ended questions to engage them and truly understand their needs beyond what the told you? DO we have a true picture of all of this before we have the cost conversation and do you clearly understand the next step and what that means as opposed to just “checking back” or following up with them?

It’s important to understand that when someone contacts you, they are often contacting several people within your industry. You don’t have a relationship built, there were just some low levels of interest that got them to contact you. Is it better than you calling out cold? Well certainly it is but you still needs the same attention to process as you always did. Getting somebody to call you is only the beginning. So, what are the other steps: What are we doing when we contact them or they call us. Are we using the process properly? Here is what we typically see.


When we get them on the phone, they will typically ask you a simple question that I call a “Wall Question” which is they put up a wall and the question sounds something like this “Hey, I see you guys sell widgets. Can you tell me if I bought a hundred widgets what that would cost?” and we say, “Sure, let me look. What can of widgets you are looking for?” “We’re looking for widget A or widget B.” “Okay well, widget A would be $75,000 for a hundred widgets and widget B would be $82,000. “Oh, that’s a lot of money. “Well, maybe I can do a little better.” You negotiate a price and they say “Okay sounds good, ah we’ll call you back” Or “Sounds good, can you send me a proposal / price sheet/ some more information?”


We get their email, we send that information in writing and cricket, we never hear from them again. We try to contact them back, they don’t contact us. We try to call them, they don’t take our call, and we leave messages.

Sound familiar? Of course, it does. The same situation that happened before when you did your prospecting more proactively occurred. Prospecting hasn’t changed. Sales and the sales process haven’t changed just because they’re contacting you. In fact, I would say that it is more difficult now because we are not as on top of our game since they contacted us we feel it is a ‘hot’ lead.

Not only do you need to do a good job on working on the sales process in closing the sale, you need to do a better job than you ever have before because remember, they have control. They’re the ones that are calling you but they’re also calling your competitor. So they’ve done a little homework, they know who’s out there and they know what the pricing is out there. That’s where the sale process comes in. If you don’t have a process, you’re going to fail whether they’re lead generating through Social Media or not.

Are You Winning the Battle?

Wess Roberts in his book “Victory Secrets of Attila The Hun” credits the battle-savvy leader with having said, “Chieftains should never intentionally place [soldiers] in a situation where the price of losing outweighs the rewards of winning”. How often can you honestly say that your sales managers apply this rule to their salespeople? And what systems do your salespeople have in place to ensure victory, even before they go into battle?


You have two challenges when your sales force prepares for battle:


Challenge 1: Like any kind of warfare, you have a distinct advantage when you can tap good and reliable intelligence. Here’s the problem: Your salespeople don’t get enough accurate intelligence about their prospects. As a result, their pipelines are filled with flaky opportunities. And your sales managers don’t have enough guts to call them on it.


Here’s the litmus test. When your sales people submit their forecasts, do you or your managers “adjust” them down for realism? It’s typically easier for salespeople and their managers to discuss why they didn’t win business, instead of asking themselves the right questions before going to battle.


The right questions:


  1. “Can we win and should we pursue this opportunity?” If yes, then
  2. “Which strategy should we adopt to ensure that we win?


To begin, ask your salespeople: “How much does it cost to win a new account?” Calculate the actual costs associated with generating a lead, a contact, an appointment, a proposal and a sale. Now add in the opportunity cost of missed business they could have won if they weren’t wasting time on business that won’t close quickly.


If you’re like most selling organizations, the cost per pursuit is several hundred or even thousands of dollars. Multiply that by the number of opportunities you chased and didn’t close in the last 12 months. Staggering isn’t it?


Before your sales people charge off to fight the next battle, ask them, “If this was your money, would you spend it?”


Challenge 2: Your sales people don’t do enough planning work before going to battle.


Before going into battle again, make sure your salespeople can answer these questions (honestly):


  • What are you trying to sell and most importantly, why? Sounds simple enough until you actually try to quantify it.


  • Is the project funded? What if there’s not enough? Who has discretionary use of the funds? Who can get more?


  • What is the sale worth to the organization? Does the ROI justify the investment of time, money and effort?


  • Have we sold this prospect anything in the past? Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?


  • How many contacts have you already had with this contact? How many phone calls, face-to-face meetings and so on? Do you have a clear next step?


  • Do you have an organizational chart? Do you have an inside coach?


  • What has been (or will be) your sales strategy?


  • Where are you in the selling process? Here is a checklist:


  1. Were you invited in or did you beg for an appointment?
  2. What were the prospect’s reasons for seeing you?
  3. What were the challenges, problems, and frustrations that you identified in the interview?
  4. How important is it to the prospect to fix those problems?
  5. How committed is the prospect to fixing those problems? (Time, effort, money, willingness to fail?)
  6. What is the agreement you and the prospect have reached concerning the decisions that will be made each step of the way?


Few salespeople understand the cost of pursuing sales and often fill their funnels with bad business. Fewer think through winning strategies before going into sales “battle”.

Ask your sales people these fundamental sales questions before committing resources to a battle you cannot win.

Successful sales professionals qualify vigorously, and religiously before committing time and energy so their closing ratios are 90% or better.

So, what are yours?




To Train or not to Train.




Important vs. Effective



Training is an intrecle and ongoing part of sales force development. Not only initial product training but ongoing sales process training to include; prospecting, calling at the top of an organization, closing and the activities it takes to get there consistently.





“To have growth in products, you need to have growth in people”

  • Reinemund, CEO PepsiCo. Inc.



Training is an interesting subject. Most organizations believe at least at some level, that training is important. And most organizations believe that they have training in place. Typically when they say they have training they are referring to product training. Product training is the training of how the actual product(s) works. Thought it is important to understand this information, we tend to spend lots of time learning the ins and outs of product knowledge but not much time on how to take it successfully to market.


Most executives believe that “presenting” the features and benefits of the product and showing the knowledge of their product will sell it. It is only one part of the process and if I told you it was the less important of the two I am sure you would disagree…but it’s true. The other and most important part of the process is the ability to ask the right questions to get your prospects to “self-realize” that your product or service is a fit for them. This is not a natural way to approach selling; therefore training is an essential part of success in a sales organization.


A majority of sales organizations say they don’t have a sufficient amount of time to train and develop their sales teams. Another “reason” training doesn’t happen is that executives believe the sales manager has the responsibility to train. That is only partly true because training properly takes specific time and energy placed on the training task.

Often organizations overlook their greatest potential source of power-the power to increase sales performance by developing their people.


Executives attempt to solve sales training issues by hiring an ‘experienced’ salesperson. Someone that has been in sales before and just let them ‘do their thing”. This is an issue because we don’t know how successful they really were in the past and no matter how closely aligned your products or service is to what they sold before, it becomes difficult for them to break out of that mold.


If this issue is present it will show itself in many ways; one is each sales person is working as an island, meaning they all have their own way of selling, their own process-or lack there of. The difficulty with that is management can’t appropriately coach each individual without a process. Though each person has their own personality and their own style, a consistent process helps keep the entire sales organization on-track and adds the ability to forecast and coach for continual success. If your team is presently not hitting any of the benchmarks you’ve set look at their process. Is it broken?


Greta Schulz is President of Schulz Business, a Sales Consulting and Training firm. She is a best selling author of “To Sell IS Not To Sell” and works with fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips go to and sign up for ‘GretaNomics’, a weekly video tip series or email sales questions to

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