‘Sales Vs. Marketing: Whose Job is it to Generate Leads?’ by Pete Caputa from November 4, 2009:
“This article is an interview of Anthony Cole by HubSpot’s Peter Caputa. Tony is a sales development guru and the founder of Anthony Cole Training Group. Anthony Cole Training Group (a HubSpot customer) helps individuals and companies drive consistent and predictable sales growth. Tony’s blog is called the Sales Java blog.
In marketing, we call it “generating leads.” In sales, it’s usually called “prospecting.” Whose job is it anyways?
While salespeople have always been measured on their ability to generate leads, inside sales people are often measured only on their ability to turn a cold list into warmer leads for their outside reps. However, even outside sales people who do their own prospecting are measured on their ability to fill the top of their funnel based on what leads turn into sales at the bottom.
Great marketers generate demand for their sales teams. With online marketing, marketers are now being measured on their ability to do so. With measurement comes great responsibility.
As a marketer, are you up for the challenge? Is your sales team carrying their weight too?
To find out what it takes for a salesperson to be good at prospecting and generating leads, I turned to a sales training guru that I’ve been following for a few years, Anthony Cole:
Pete: How do you teach sales people to prospect?
Tony: Actually the real key is to hire people who can prospect (prospect qualification is a testable skill) and then help them improve their techniques. Prospecting effectively is a topic we help sales people with every day and maybe for the marketers out there, this may help you understand how to better support your sales teams. We coach salespeople that their attitude about prospecting will determine how successful their sales career will be. If they feel that prospecting is something they have to do, then they will view it as drudgery. They will resist it; they will find other things to do instead of prospecting. They will not improve their skills at it and their performance and success in sales will suffer. They must embrace prospecting. They must understand that prospecting is the job. They get paid a lot of money because they are willing to do what others won’t – prospect.
Pete: Most people think that the best salespeople are the ones who are all about talking a lot and closing hard. In your experience, would you say that prospecting is the hardest thing for salespeople?
Tony: Those people in sales who are making the most money are not making the most because they are brighter or have better presentations, or because their product is better. They are making big money because they have figured out that the real job is getting in front of people or businesses that need, want and can pay for the product and services they provide. The moment they realize that prospecting is THE job, they have taken their first step to the best year in sales they’ve ever had.
Pete: Have you found that there are certain salespeople that are better at prospecting than others? Why?
Tony: Yes, there are people who are better prospectors and here’s why. They have less of a need for approval and can ask tough questions. Also, they recover from rejection quickly so not much gets them down. They need to have the attitude of prospects that ‘some will, some won’t, so what, next…’ Many salespeople have self-limiting beliefs that in turn limit their behavior. The first step to unlocking the locked mindset is to identify those beliefs. Here are some examples:
- “I don’t like prospecting.”
- “It’s hard to get past gatekeepers.”
- “If a prospect asks me to send something, I usually send something.”
- “I’m uncomfortable asking for referrals.”
Pete: How do you recommend salespeople get over these self-limiting beliefs?
Tony: Having the right attitude and beliefs about prospecting is the essential key that will unlock the skills they may have already, if they had just been able to overcome their own self-limiting beliefs. We tell them to take the limiting beliefs they’ve identified and turn them into positive affirmations. Below are a few examples:
- “I don’t like prospecting.” –> “I love prospecting because it is the key to great prosperity.”
- “It’s hard to get past gatekeepers.” –> “Getting past a gatekeeper is what I do best when I prospect.”
- “People don’t like to give referrals.” –> “People are more than willing to introduce me to other people they know.”
Pete: That’s really interesting. Do you think marketers have self limiting beliefs about generating leads for their sales teams?
Well, I’m not the expert on that. But, I’ve listened to enough salespeople complain about their marketing teams to know that it’s probably a good idea for marketers to reflect on it.