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How to find sales leads that last

There’s a right and wrong way to generate quality leads in the sales world. Through relationship selling, you can increase conversation rates and create relationships with buyers. Take the time to focus your efforts, find the leads that matter, build customer trust, make lasting connections, and become a truly valued partner.

What your leads are looking for

Before you start finding sales leads, here are some of the qualities buyers look for in a business partner:

  • Companies that are interested in building a relationship in addition to building revenue
  • Partners who show that they truly understand a buyer’s business
  • Customised content and recommendations

No two leads are alike, but when you do your research and offer your sales leads what they’re looking for, buyers are more likely to want to engage with you.

Don’t be distracted by quick and easy

Online communication tools have significantly multiplied the chances of generating sales leads. The sheer accessibility of that volume of potential leads makes it tempting to just copy and paste your pitch into an email and send to as many people as possible. But more times than not, you’re doubling your efforts with little return, and most importantly, compromising your credibility.

TIP: Be thoughtful about who, what, and when. Decide if you’re targeting these leads at the right time with the right message.

“What we see is that the whole sales process is changing—information is everywhere, and conversations are crossing multiple channels. Our sales colleagues need up-to-date customer information available at their fingertips—either from internal systems or social media platforms like LinkedIn. They need an intelligent tool that will make their reporting, forecasting, etc. very quick and effective so they can focus on working with our customers."

—Flemming Nielsen, VP Sales Asia South, Swarovski Professional

Quality leads over quantity

Now that you’re talking to the right people and generating sales leads, you should be implementing the right tools and connecting your business processes to monitor relationship health trends, receive data-driven product recommendations and meeting reminders, see email interaction statuses, and more. You have new access to real insights about your clients, and because you're focused only on the clients that matter, you're able to address and exceed their needs efficiently and correctly.

Master the best relationship selling tools

Use tools that can generate sales leads based on activity trends by using advanced filtering systems. Social media tools like LinkedIn, combined with powerful CRM tools and solutions, gives you unlimited access to valuable recommended paths to reach buyers.

“We’ve always been very good at manufacturing our product; now we must be equally good at engaging with our customers. That means we have to keep the customer at the centre of everything we do.”

— Bobby Berry, Senior Vice President, Solution Delivery at Fruit of the Loom

Be genuine, not generic when targeting leads

Remember, no one wants to feel like they’re being given a generic opportunity. So instead of spending a little time with every person at your disposal, use relationship selling techniques to facilitate long-term, meaningful relationships with the right people.

Ask yourself a few basic questions to ensure that you’re spending your time as efficiently as possible when finding a lead:

  • Can this sales lead make the kinds of decisions I want them to make?
  • What does this person’s network say about them? Are they well connected, or does it seem as if they’re operating in isolation?
  • Am I the right person to approach this particular contact or is there an existing connection within my team that could yield better results?
  • Is there a history between this person and my organisation?
  • What do I hope to accomplish by contacting this person?
  • What would a follow-up conversation with this lead look like?
  • Based on what I know so far, how many steps away from closing a deal are we?

Care about your credibility

It’s important to understand your sales lead’s business and if you can provide value before you reach out. Your value depends on your accuracy of deciding whether or not the client is appropriate for you. Use your time to observe potential leads before you leap.

Take a good look at the leads you’re targeting and ask:

  • Are they sharing or interacting with content that’s relevant?
  • Are they showing signs of pursuing a new opportunity?
  • Do they seem to be confronting a challenge?

Put in the time to identify what may or may not interest them and formulating a strategy to position yourself as a trusted source. Once you’ve earned their trust, it’s easier to earn their loyalty.

Some strategies to consider when finding the right sales leads

Look right in front of you

Focus your efforts on people you're already connected with. They may already be in your network, but you haven't established a relationship. Social selling tools can help you find the truly relevant ones by using advanced filters and premium connections.

Be accessible

Creating an honest, customer-centric profile will help you target sales leads and retain clients who are more interested in a long-term relationship. If you step outside of the truth in attempts to draw a bunch of connections, it will only end up leading you down the wrong path towards the wrong clients. Some premium services help guide you through crafting a profile that will lead to relationships.

Tech is not the only way

A lot can still be said for the connections and face-to-face relationships you make when you network offline. Go to events, speak at events, stand outside events, and do what you can to make real connections. Sure enough, when you get home at night, you’ll have a handful of new quality leads to begin to assess.

Start with the most up-to-date tips and techniques

Learn how to focus your networking efforts with Microsoft Relationship Sales, which brings together LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales.