We deal with the top of the corporate hierarchy at client companies and mostly hear owners’ comments about how ineffective their in-house lead generation efforts are. Here is a fair characterization of one owner/president, “Our customers love our products and most everyone I talk to says they’d like to hear more about them. I can’t understand how our guys are not able to generate leads with our great reputation.”
As the owner or CEO, you are at the top of your organization and deal with high profile clients and projects. You attend conferences where you may be a keynote speaker. In most cases, you’ve invested significant resources in market research, product development and testing of new offerings and helped select pilot programs and the clients where they are implemented. In short, you wouldn’t have started the company or launched the new offering without proven market receptivity. Armed with this level of well-founded confidence you very effectively evangelize your new solution to prospects and people listen.
The challenge in understanding the issues with your lead generators is that you can’t empathize. You don’t cold call prospects that have never heard of your company or haven’t thought about solving the problem that your solution does. You use your own name and title precisely because you know it gets you immediate traction.
Your lead generators don’t have the luxury of saying, “I’m the president of XYZ Technology Company and I can make anything within reason happen in this organization to ensure your satisfaction.” You will admit that if a fellow president called to sell you on his company, you’d be more inclined to give him the time.
Vice presidents of sales and CEO’s are often brought in on the closing part of a new deal and in many instances with long term customers. That alone is a totally skewed view of the world. If you only consort with customers and extremely interested prospects as a high level executive, you’re missing out. You will never have direct contact with people in your market that simply don’t like your company or brand. And you will never hear misperceptions about your company or products or anything else that holds back your call team.
Here are two things that you should do this month to find out what the folks on the front lines already know about how non-customers think of your brand or solution:
1) Sit with a good rep and listen to him make cold calls for four straight hours
2) Call yourself posing as an employee and try to get an appointment with the director or VP that decides whether your solution will be evaluated
The first is easy and you better do this first because the second exercise will be much harder for you if you have no expectation of what you’ll encounter. The temptation will be to give up after number one or after very few calls on your own as you can “extrapolate the results for sufficient…”
No, make four hours of calls and let the fatigue of calling and randomness of people answering unexpectedly get you a little distracted and then have to be on-point with one second’s notice. Try the value proposition prescribed and see how well it flies with the average purchase influencer… without telling them that you’re the president.
Think of this as a twist on the popular TV show, Undercover Boss. And if you are successful at moving the needle while doing it, you’ll earn an entirely new level of credibility with those sparking your business.