There used to be a time when hiring a new sales person, throwing him or her a phonebook and saying hit the streets was adequate. We marveled at the sales people who, with nothing less than determination, a rolodex, a half-baked product and some spit and gum could build a great pipeline and drive business. In those days, the key was to focus on a hiring a good hunting sales person and get out of their way. We celebrated the hunter for his or her prospecting skills. We expected the entire team to eat what they killed and from this the mythical sales person was born.
A long time ago, the sales person was responsible for finding and creating their own leads. If a “lead” did come in, it was called a bluebird. A bluebird was what we once called the unexpected lead that could come in and help us make our number. Warm leads not generated by sales people were so rare, we gave them a name, “bluebird”.
Back then, it was not the sales leaders job to generate leads. Most sales organizations did not have a lead generation budget item. Those that did primarily spent the money on targeted lists. These “lists” would be divvied up among the sales team to call. In most cases, that was the extent of the lead generation strategy of sales leadership. The lists didn’t contain warm leads or names of people who were familiar with your business. They were just lists of people or companies that fit some arbitrary profile, a profile that possibly lent itself to a sale. It was a, throw a bunch of shit at the wall and see what sticks mentality.
Today, things have changed. We still celebrate the killer hunter who takes over a territory and kills it, but now more than ever, sales and marketing leadership are the hunters. It is now the job of leadership to do more of the hunting and provide quality, warm leads to the sales team. If they can’t or aren’t they aren’t doing their job.
Any sales organization that has not embraced a content marketing strategy for lead generation in 2013 is not doing its job and the leaders should be let go. Just as in the past, the sales person who couldn’t drum up enough business was shown the door, as too should the head of sales and marketing. Continuing to rely on sales people to do all of the prospecting and hunting is an antiquated and faulty sales strategy. Too many tools exist today that allow organizations to create a continuos supply of warm leads. Because of this, every sales organization should have a inbound marketing or lead generation strategy in place for 2013.
The worm has turned. 2013 is the year of the lead and leadership will be measured on it’s ability to hunt, and on it’s ability to create compelling content that drives well qualified leads to the sales team. The companies that perfect lead genration strategies will be the winners.
Relying on a flawed strategy in 2013 is not an option. Are you ready for the challenge?