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Sales Leads

    • 25 posts
    June 12, 2007 7:02 AM EDT
    How to obtain sales leads and market to them is a topic that is as wide as it is deep and people have many, many different opinions about what works and what does not work.

    I wish that I had the silver bullet to marketing to small business but I don`t. The good news is that there are a lot of different ways to get new leads and your marketing to them is limited only by your creativity.

    Ideas for Obtaining Leads
    Telephone directory
    Internet searches
    Trade shows / business events
    Mailing lists
    Public engagements / Speaking and teaching
    Public relations
    Website leads

    Ideas for Marketing to those Leads
    Direct mail
    Newsletter signups / Online and offline
    Paid keyword searches
    Telephone cold calls
    In person cold calls
    Web advertising
    Free trials

    The lists can go on and on. Unless you have lots of money to pour into your marketing efforts, you are probably going to have to become more involved with the process. That means it will be you making the cold calls, putting together the direct mail plan and designing the pieces that will be used, etc.

    What I have learned is that it really requires a complete shift in thinking when it comes to marketing your startup. You have to be ready to put in the legwork that is required to make a company successful and you have to treat your sales as the heartbeat of your new company. Having anything less than a driving passion for what you are doing will probably result in failure.

    Focus on that and the sales and marketing tactics will start becoming more clear.

    Best of luck,

    Mark Bebout
    • 25 posts
    June 13, 2007 6:41 AM EDT

    I am pretty sure all of us on these boards have limited budgets. The goal should be to squeeze the life out of every marketing dollar you have so that you get the most bang for your buck.

    Regarding your point on A, the answer is that there are a lot of other ways to collect leads besides renting them from a broker. I listed some ideas in my previous post. I am not saying one way is better than the other, but I am saying that there may be a more effective and less expensive alternative to InfoUSA. It is going to require you to invest some time and energy into experimenting with how the quality of leads generated in different ways.

    One thing that you may want to consider is to narrow down your focus more than just "entrepreneurs and small business owners who would like to make their business sound professional". This is a very, very broad category that encompasses many specific industries. It is a huge giant that probably won`t feel the effects of the pebbles you are throwing at him.

    However, if you narrow down your focus, and you can do this either by vertical industry or geographic location, then the target becomes much smaller and your pebbles now become rocks they can feel.

    In thinking about how you can shrink the giant down to something you can effectively take on, you should narrow your marketing focus to a specific vertical market. In doing this you need to think about what vertical industries place a premium on sounding professional, and since you have settled on telemarketing you need to think about what types of business you will have success contacting over the telephone. For example, using these two considerations I might decide that law firms place a premium on their professional image and they do a lot of telephone communication. So I choose law firms as my vertical market. 

    What I just did was narrowed my focus from 5.7 million small businesses to roughly 400,000 lawyers (I could not find specific numbers on small law firms in America). Now you need to get to know this particular market and what works with them so that you can better refine your sales process to accommodate and address their needs specifically. If done right this should increase your conversation rates as well.

    I would even go one step further. Due to budget constraints you are still probably dealing with a good sized giant with a couple hundred thousand prospects nationwide. Narrow your focus even more by targeting only small law firms in your state. Once again you have now gone from tens of thousands of law firms to probably more like a couple thousand, where your marketing efforts are going to have even more of an impact.

    You can adjust this strategy accordingly, in order to get the right numbers. Once you have figured it out I highly recommend a multi-faceted marketing approach to your audience rather than just telemarketing. But I will leave that for a different book!

    • 3 posts
    June 11, 2007 10:14 PM EDT

    We have launched our service 6 months back.

    The target market is entrepreneurs and small business owners who would like to make their business sound professional. Everyone does!

    - How do I go about reaching them?
    - We have lately hired few telecallers who can broadcast abour our services to the target market.

    How do everyone here get sales leads and how effective is it? Are there any alternatives to expensive infousa? Each lead is ~16.25c. Are leads so expensive when the conversion ratio is only 1%? Any alternatives?

    • 3 posts
    June 12, 2007 8:06 PM EDT

    Thanks for the response. We have limited budget.

    a) Telemarketing: we have already hired our reps and are training them. Before we went ahead with infousa leads, I wanted to check if there are any other alternatives.

    b) Direct Mail: I am seriously considering them apart from Telemarketing. Did you do this before? Whats the best way of targeting and how do we go abt getting the leads?

    Is USPS best carrier for bulk mailing?