May 21

10 Lead Generation and Prospecting Tips for Salespeople

Lead Generation


Salespeople often lack the support of a dedicated marketing team that do lead generation programs for them. So they do their own sales prospecting.

This is especially true for salespeople working in small businesses.

Here’s what I mean:

Sales must succeed in spite of it all.

They must, in one way or another, generate their own sales leads and meet their revenue and targets with little marketing support.

In fact, they often need to develop their own lead generation as part of their sales process.

You may call it prospecting, business development, cold calling.

All of which means the investment of time to get their foot in the door. Then, they must be a shift from prospecting back to selling.

In lead generation, the job of the marketing department is to develop leads to match the buyer’s readiness to buy and the seller’s expectations of selling.

Ideally, marketing should say to sales: “We get the leads, you get the sales.”

That said, there are some organizations that for various reasons still place the responsibility of lead creation with the sales.

10 tips for salespeople who do lead generation

1. Build an ideal customer profile and use it

Focus your energy on leads that best fit your ideal customer profile. Both the companies and the individuals you covet as customers.  What separates your best and worst customers? What are their attributes and demographics? What organizations/associations do they belong to?

2. Talk to your best customers

How much do you really know about your clients?  A simple phone call can generate plenty of useful information.

Ask your customers why they chose to work with you? Is that the same reason they keep doing business with you?

How has working with you helped their business?

Would they refer you to other people? Are they willing customer advocates?

Use this information to refine your message to identify more leads just like your best customers. Once you understand why clients chose your products or service, you can tailor your message to the needs you solve.

3. Build your personal prospecting engine

Connect with your prospects, customers, networks and alliance partners in a consistent manner.

How? By using traditional direct marketing methods such as direct mail, phone calls, personal publicity, and email campaigns.

Putting Empathy in Account Based Marketing

7 prospecting rules that produce leads

4. Develop a lead generation calendar

Map out your activities for each month and then actually follow it! And don’t just make irrelevant pitches more often!

Create a plan to add value every time you touch your future customers with relevant ideas, content, and resources.

velocity and conversion

5. Act as a sound financial manager with your portfolio tactics

Your lead generation and prospecting efforts should include a portfolio of tactics that you apply consistently over time.

You’re not in it for the big hit. You’re investing in planting seeds that will eventually grow into relationships.

6. Define your goals for lead generation

Be clear about what you want.  Do you want 200 more leads in your database?

Do you want to generate $600K in new business in revenue this year?

Do you want to add 26 new customers this quarter?

Get clear on your objective.

7. Rigorously qualify leads

Every sale opportunity to make sure they fit your ideal client/customer profile before you start to develop a proposal or agree to do work. Learn more about lead qualification.

8. Be consistent with your outreach

Remember the fable about the tortoise and the hare? Or have you heard dig your well before you’re thirsty?

No matter how busy you are, be sure to make time to do personal lead generation activities especially, if you don’t have a marketing team supporting you.

9. Develop a lead nurturing plan

While you may generate leads from your initial campaign, you will generate more by following up with additional touches just be sure that is meaningful and relevant to your audience.

Lead nurturing should be focused on building a long-term conversation that builds trust.

Lead Nurturing in 6 Simple Steps

10. Develop and maintain your own database

Even the best lists of target accounts are not 100% accurate.  During the planning phase, you should make sure your list fits your ideal customer profile.

Also, don’t create the biggest database possible. Instead, seek to create the most relevant database possible which contains the right accounts and contacts that influence the buying decision.

In the beginning, you won’t have all the data you need. Be patient and you’ll build the opportunity profile over time.

I hope you found this post helpful with fresh ideas you can use now.

You may also like:

List Buying: 6 tips for buying the most effective lead list

Lessons on Using LinkedIn for Lead Generation

5 Ways to Immediately Boost Account Based Marketing (ABM)

Fresh Ideas to Reignite Stalled Leads and Accelerate the Sales Funnel

How to Use Conversational Marketing to Get More Leads

4 Steps to Do Lead Nurturing That Helps More Customers Buy

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. I like the idea of having a database of customers and potential leads. I feel like that would be a good way to keep track of everything and help you to know which customers you need to contact again. I’ll have to look into getting a list like that if I decide to start a business since it sounds super beneficial.

  2. That is the perfect blog for business. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  3. Quick response, most important. I always try to respond my customers queries within one hour or the one i get in night, i do respond them before breakfast and i convert 70% of my queries.

  4. With 68% of the businesses out there complaining the struggle with lead generation, your article is actually a gem Brian! Keep helping others!

  5. Great tips! In our new featured whitepaper “Five Tips for Best Practice Lead Development” we found that implementing successful demand generation programs requires: strong attention to detail, a great database of qualified prospects, marketing automation systems, and last but not least… experience.

  6. Like your blog – great information.

    Whether marketing or sales is managing the lead generation, both must focus on the “right” targets. Those “right” targets, often purchased from a list company, may not truly identify “ideal” customer or prospect profiles. The lists are usually based on high-value companies, which are often hard to acquire and maintain. Rather than fighting for 30% share of those high value customers, for some companies, it might be better to acquire 70% of lower value customers.

    Through market analysis, companies can analyze all current customers and available prospects, then create groups based on demographics, potential of the account, products they purchase, and the amount of dollars they spend with “your company.”

  7. In my experience the qualification is very important. Sometimes clients want a big list, instead of a quality list with prospects who are really interested.

  8. Good questions on how soon to follow-up on inquiries.

    How quickly should you respond? Generally speaking, the sooner the better.

    I wrote a post about this a while back that talks about the “Velocity of Lead Follow-Up Are Critical To Winning the Complex Sale”. You can read it by clicking this link.

    One of my clients; has my company centrally qualify all their leads (via phone) against their universal lead definition within 2-hours, distributes and requires their field sales force to follow up on those that are sales-ready within 8-hours. They generate 12,000 inquiries per year, mostly via their website.

    If a qualified sales lead is not followed up by the assigned sales person within 24-hours, they can count on a call from their sales manager. If a sales lead goes more than 48-hours before being touched, that salesperson risks having that lead assigned to someone else – someone with more selling time capacity.

    This approach works. They have an amazing lead conversion rate, which is triple the number of their industry peers. They are successfully beating three Fortune 500 competitors who are 50 times their size.

  9. I make a point of e mailing and calling someone within 2 hours. also I am not sure what you mean by a lead. I presume you mean Inquiry.

    Sorry pet peeve. I specialize in “lead generation and opportunity creation” for several companies and someone coming to your site and downloading a whitepapeer or asking for a demo is NOT a lead it’s an inquiry.

    Kenny Madden

  10. I never thought of adding a lead generation calendar to my lead generation, but that’s a great idea–will try to get one started this week (hopefully tomorrow!).

    I, too, am interested in knowing about following up with leads–is it possible to respond to leads too quickly? Obviously if you don’t follow up within a few days then most likely they’re not going to be a lead anymore–especially if they filled out a form on your website!

  11. I’m curious if you have had much experience in how important it is to respond quickly to leads. We have been finding anywhere from 18 to 40% net increases in qualification if we respond to leads within 30 minutes. I’m wondering if you have any experience in the area of lead response management.

  12. Hey, congrats on the great blog! Really useful information! I learn a lot from you! Thanks!

  13. Brian, I just came across your post, and it’s still a great piece. Nice work!

    Thanks, as well, to you and Ken on the advice for response times. I hadn’t considered your client’s approach – the risk of lead reassignment – but the results speak for themselves. Good tips!

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