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"We Need More Leads"
By Bob Washburn, President, WashburnGroup

While on the phone with a software company CEO, I asked him to comment on his most critical sales issues. He replied "We need more leads"

Are your inside salespeople executing the front end of your company's sales process, and generating prequalified leads for the field, or are they performing the simpler, but less valuable, telemarketing job?

In today's technology buying environment, where only 10% of companies' IT budget is available for new product purchases, it's critically important for tech vendors to have an inside sales team that can create truly prequalified leads for their field sales forces and partners to convert to customers.

Earlier this year, while on the phone with a software company CEO, I asked him to comment on his most critical sales issues. He replied "We need more leads".

So I decided to investigate the problem, and interviewed a sample of inside sales managers, field sales managers, field salespeople and marketing managers, to help me evaluate the current state of high tech inside sales. Here's a brief assessment:
At most companies, Marketing generates interest in the company's offerings - hosting Webinars, offering downloadable white papers, product specs, and customer success stories.

Web visitors are asked to identify themselves by filling in a few (or a lot) of boxes to attend the Webinar, get the white paper and so forth. Then their names and collected data are sent to the inside sales team to telephone the prospects and see which ones are potential buyers.

Often, the Inside salesperson asks a prospect if they have an active or potential project, a budget, their purchasing timeframe, and whether they are a decision maker, an influencer or a user. Is this customer-centric selling behavior?

S/he also tells the prospect about their product's features and benefits, and sends the "lead" to the field via the CRM system

Bob Washburn helps high tech sales executives accelerate sales revenue by improving sales team performance. WashburnGroup is an affiliate of CustomerCentric Selling

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