We Love Generating Sales Leads

Jim Barrett, President


Minneapolis, MN

Is this the attitude at your company?  In all of my years of business development and consulting, I’ve never had a client tell me that.  Somehow, this essential business task has a way of ending up on the back burner.  Isn’t it easy to get focused on other “pressing” matters?  But in choosing to delay lead generation, you are choosing to delay your business growth.

“Okay…” you say, “but where do I start?”  Good question…the first of many questions that you’ll need to ask – and answer – as you approach the topic of lead generation.  But first, let’s take a closer look at the definition of this term, one that I believe includes four critical components:

  • Calling key decision-makers in companies you want to do business with
  • Beginning to develop a strategic relationship with them
  • Selling your services as a high-value solution (which keeps you from competing on price)
  • Helping your prospects to remember you when their elusive “time of need” occurs

Before going deeper into the topic of lead generation, allow me to clarify one point: I am not referring to the calls that interrupt your family during dinner.   In the business-to-business arena, this kind of “hard sell” is not effective.  Hype and aggressiveness won’t grow your bottom line.  The type of lead generation that this article focuses on is about developing a peer-to-peer relationship with people who can write the checks.  Or, simply put: Finding people who have pain because you are not working with them.

So, how do you grow your reach to that audience?  Well, if you’re in business today, you’ve already had some success.  So, start by taking a close look at what you are already doing to bring in new business.  Then consider what else you need to do in order to grow your business according to your goals.  Start with definable figures, working backward from where you want to end up.  Ask the questions that will get you to those numbers:

  • Where do we want our sales/revenues to be in 1, 3, 5 years?
  • What is our average sale amount?  From that: How many sales do we need per month/year to reach our goals?
  • How many new opportunities (proposals) do we need in order to make one sale?  From that: How many proposals do we need to create each month/year?
  • How many new leads do we need in order to find an opportunity (write a proposal)?  From that: How many new leads do we need each month/year to meet our growth goals?
  • What resources will we need in place in order to generate the amount of leads determined above?  (This will help you to start defining your sales and marketing budgets and priorities.)

As you can see, there are many questions to address as you implement a lead generation program: Some – like the above – will be quantifiable.  Others will be qualitative.   But it’s important to start asking the questions.  How else will you find answers that will allow you to reach your goals?

As you work through these questions, you may find that your organization could use the support of an outsourced talent for list development, prospecting, data management, or training.  Don’t feel like you have to take care of everything “in-house”.  Especially for growing businesses, investing in outside expertise may be the difference between whether your lead program is just “a good idea” or actually gets implemented.  Either way, it’s time to get your lead generation program off the back burner, and into your way of doing business.

Jim Barrett is the President of Leads4Grow; a business development and consulting firm. He has successfully accelerated his clients new business growth by generating productive, high-level meetings with executives from Fortune 500’s to emerging, fast growth companies. He may be reached at

Copyright 2012. Jim Barrett.  All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.