Mystery Solved: Where Do Sales Leads Come From?

Where do good B2B sales leads come from? Are business leads always just out there waiting for you to find them? Are sales leads lying dormant within a company waiting for some sales rep to come along and harvest them?

Or are sales leads created when the forces of business change come together and create new needs, like when a company expands or moves their offices or launches a new product?

The answer to all of these questions is “Yes,” but there are major differences in the internal chemistry of these two different types of sales leads and it’s important to recognize the differences when you are conducting B2B lead generation work.

Both types of B2B sales leads can exist and co-exist within a company at the same time.  Business leads that “always exist” within a company are considered “dormant” opportunities that are there because every organization has problems, issues, and challenges. There are always better, more efficient ways to accomplish something. To uncover “dormant” sales leads, you need to show your prospects that you can help them tackle an ongoing challenge.

Good Leads

Uncovering “dormant” sales lead by stimulating interest:

Sales leads that are lying dormant require you to create demand and stimulate interest for your solution. For example, your services can eliminate redundancy by streamlining a customer’s production process from 37 steps to 12 steps while maintaining or improving quality.

This sounds like a great solution but chances are you don’t have prospects calling you all day for a demo. Why? Because the pain that you are solving is lying dormant within the context of how your prospect is currently doing business.

Chances are your prospect is reasonably happy using a process that the company has been successful with for many years, and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Thus the sales drivers in this lead are going to have to be created and stimulated by your efforts.

To get dormant sales leads you to need to show the prospect what is broken, and how your solution can fix it better than the alternatives.

Dormant sales leads are not going to come to you. Instead, you will need to be the engine behind this type of lead generation.

  • Advantages of dormant sales leads: The biggest benefit of working with dormant sales leads is that you were the one who uncovered the lead and brought it out of dormancy, so you are probably the only vendor talking to the prospect. Instead of trying to drown out the noise of other competitors, you can focus on educating your prospects, building relationships with them and getting them to buy into what you’re selling.
  • Disadvantages of dormant sales leads: Dormant sales leads give you the challenge of a longer sales cycle because your solution was not already on the drawing board. Since the prospect was not already considering a solution like yours (or perhaps had not even realized that there was a solution on the market), you will need to patiently work with them to make the case for ROI and sell them on what your solution will save the company so they can find the money to buy it.

Sales Leads resulting from internal changes:

B2B sales leads are also created as a result of internal changes at a company. Every time a company changes its core functions launches new products, moves its location, or expands its operations, there are new opportunities created for B2B sales leads. These sales lead that result from internal change are often referred to as “low hanging fruit.”

Why? Because low-hanging fruit is easy to recognize, ripe and ready for the plucking. Internal change sales lead tend to offer short sales cycles and highly motivated buyers.

  • Advantages of “internal change” sales leads: The prospect is almost always ready to buy, they know what they want, and the sales cycle is short because the prospect needs to bring new systems and solutions online as part of its internal ramp-up in business operations.
  • Disadvantages of “internal change” sales leads: You might find yourself in a “cattle call” where you’re trying to sell to the prospect along with 10 other vendors. This can lead to difficulty in building relationships with the prospect, since you’re competing in a noisy din of vendors all screaming they have a better mousetrap. These sales leads might also present you with lower margins because the prospect is playing vendors off of each other and looking for the lowest possible cost. If a prospect sees you as just part of a “cattle call” of undistinguishable vendors, you lose differentiation and risk having the sale turn into a commodity purchase based on price alone. When companies are making a big push to bring new systems or solutions on board, they tend to evaluate many different solutions at once, meaning that the prospect gives you no “one on one” time because of the volume of vendors and you have to submit your proposal without an opportunity to drive home your key selling points.

Which type of B2B sales leads are most profitable for you to pursue?

Most sales organizations build their new business development and lead generation programs on searching for low-hanging fruit. These business leads require less skill to develop, but unfortunately, there are fewer of them. After all, if all B2B lead generation were a matter of picking the low-hanging fruit, we’d all be a lot wealthier!

To develop these low-hanging fruit sales leads, reps must move through a high volume of prospects and “skim” these leads from the top of the prospecting funnel. There is more luck than skill involved here and few reps can sustain the rigors of this type of prospecting day in and day out.

On the other hand, creating B2B sales leads from dormant pain issues is an advanced sales prospecting technique and requires skills, strategy, and finesse. It’s a process rather than a simple phone call to create these types of business leads. Finding the more lucrative (but time-consuming) dormant sales leads requires a more experienced lead generation expert with a more nuanced understanding of the industry and the client’s business.

It is critical that your team generate these dormant sales leads as part of the foundation of your lead generation program, because low-hanging fruit leads are not predictable, reliable, and cannot be generated consistently.  For example, in the Great Recession, we are working our way out of now, low-hanging fruit business leads have all but disappeared as companies have locked down their spending.

B2B lead generation is never truly easy, and the biggest rewards go to the companies that know how to put in extra effort to uncover the most lucrative business leads. Don’t let your company starve while you wait for low-hanging fruit to head your way. Instead, put in the time and resources to finding the sales leads that are out there, but haven’t realized that they need to hear from you yet.

Looking for lead generation companies to help manage your sales leads? Talk to Strategic Sales & Marketing for comprehensive lead management services to help you through the B2B lead generation process. Our industry-leading B2B sales consultants and appointment setters know how to cultivate, qualify and close on complex B2B sales leads in a variety of industries. We can help you find more sales leads, better qualify your sales leads, conduct a more efficient appointment setting, and improve conversion rates to overcome your B2B lead generation challenges and turn B2B sales leads into bigger sales results.

Contact Strategic Sales & Marketing for a free quick quote or a free, no-obligation Test Drive of our lead generation services.

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