Part I, Active Networking

For salespeople to be effective lead generators, they must have both active and passive marketing programs. Now (1) their marketing program must be their own -- not the company’s (although the two can be in sync with each other), and (2) they will do both, halfheartedly or not at all unless you the sales manager shows them how and holds them accountable. Accountability means setting goals, actions and measurements. Then, review progress on a regular schedule to give meaningful feedback and motivation to reach agreed-upon metrics.

So here are some sales management training tips for managing an Active Lead Generation Process.

Active marketing is networking (a) up and out within existing accounts, (b) into competitors’ and lost accounts, and (c) new markets.

For existing accounts do your sales people have 100% of their existing accounts’ business? Do your sales people what it will take to steal accounts from your competitors? Do your sales people have a method to introduce and integrate your products into new markets? Probably not.

Now, the easiest way to get more business is to spread like a virus through all accounts, focusing on eventually getting to the C-level and/or profit center leaders and their immediate staffs. Your goal as a manager is to keep them focused on connecting with more and more people to learn their problems and potential opportunities that relate to your solutions portfolio. Then, with their gleaned knowledge, develop suggestions and strategies that these leaders find helpful. Try not to concentrate at first on the purchase, but rather on learning and then their buy-in to your suggestions. Learning their thinking will show what it will take to get buy-in. With buy-in comes support, and with support comes networking to those with the power to mandate changes, create budgets and to authorize purchases.

If your sales people stick with their one or two main contacts, their ability to discover opportunities and make suggestions that lead to purchases is severely limited. Therefore, you must insist upon an Executive Relationship Chart. The elements of such a tool include:
1. Who are all (up and out) involved people by name and title in that organization?
a. The powerful -- C-Level, Profit Center Leaders and their immediate staffs.
b. The influential, the functional and the impacted.
c. The administrators -- purchasing agents spec writers, engineers, and controllers.
2. Where does your sales person rank on the credibility pyramid for each of these people -- 1-low to 6-a resource/consultant?
3. What actions is each taking to improve his or her position with each decision maker?
4. When will these actions be completed, and
5. How will you know it's complete and how will you measure it?

Obviously, if your salespeople are a 5 to 6 on the credibility pyramid with the powerful, they will have access to new opportunities, which they have helped create. Conversely, if they are stuck with low-level administrators and functional people, they will be just another one of the bunch of competitors.

Your job for helping your people create quality leads is to keep them networking, learning from each individual and offering-up ideas. This process will take time, but once it catches-on, it will produce an ongoing flow of leads from new divisions, for new products, and more and more. This applies to existing and lost customers, competitors’ accounts, and new markets as well. My rule is 50% of sales people's prospecting time should be spent on existing accounts, 30% on lost and competitors’ accounts where they have contacts, and 20% in those accounts where they have no contacts.

So start creating Executive Relationship Charts for each of your existing accounts and those accounts you would like to penetrate. These charts will yield your networking plans and the actions your people will take to improve their credibility with the powerful and influential. From these actions will emanate the leads that generate sales.

However, I guarantee your people will not do this without your pressure and your help.

Next article Part II – Passive Marketing Article

And now I invite you to learn more.

Bonus Tip: FREE E-Book “Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers”. Just click this C-Level Relationship Selling Link . Sam Manfer makes it easy for any sales person to be successful and feel comfortable connecting with and relationship selling C-Level leaders.

Author's Bio: 

Sam Manfer is an expert sales person, entertaining key note speaker and author of TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$, a book that gets C-Level and other influential decision-makers to meet with you and return voicemails. Sam makes it easy for any sales person to generate tons of quality leads, and become a 70% closer. Sign-Up for Sam’s FREE Advanced Sales Training Tips Ezine.