At the Front-End of the Negotiating Chain


It is the end of your fiscal year minus one week…
Last few days to close business and reach your sales goals.
People are on the line. Jobs are on the line. Commissions are on the line.
The CEO is waiting. Chances are, shareholders are not too far either.
Where are the deals? What became of those great leads?
Where is business?
Branch Rickey
Baseball executive
Luck is the residue of design.
Leads must survive a rigorous selection before translating into sales. The creation of a lead funnel that keeps your pipeline full requires as many qualified leads as possible so you can keep doing what you do best – close business. Implementing a repeatable, predictable process for revenue growth begins with the building of this funnel; that is the formula behind sales success.

You have mapped out key performance indicators such as the lifetime value of a customer, the cost of customer acquisition and conversion rates, are starting to understand the projected return on investment for various lead generation strategies, indeed use various resources, yet your leads don’t convert, not to the extent that you’d like to see happening.

MLI can help you uncover enough truly qualified leads that you will regenerate your sales funnel, create market churn and reach your sales objectives.

Qualified Leads

Qualified Leads are individuals who are displaying both the intent and the capacity to make a buying decision in a reasonable timeframe.
1. CxO vs. EVP vs. SVP vs. VP vs. Director vs. Manager vs. Leader…

In a large, complex organization, no key party decides in a vacuum. Do you have visibility over what the chain of command looks like? It is quite helpful to know a Vice President expressed preliminary interest in your value proposition. How about the EVP, who may act as the ultimate decision-maker? How about the director, who may have some influence? After all, s/he’ll be the implementer.

2. Information Technology (IT) vs. Marketing vs. Strategic Planning vs. Line of Business Executive vs. CFO vs.…

You’re trying to sell a complex software application. Is the Chief Information Officer a decision-maker? Well, maybe. Or, as is often the case, s/he is an enabler and/or a recommender. The Business Unit executive may be another great place to investigate. How about Marketing – say, if the solution revolves around Business Intelligence? Or the CFO’s office? After all, the finance department crunches lots of numbers and data. Isn’t s/he interested in profitability per client? Margin per vertical? Retention per product? Cross sales per account team? MLI will find out.

Configurations are numerous that demonstrate that a complex sale requires a complex, multi-prone account penetration endeavor. Some decision-makers are embedded deep in the organization. The title may be meaningless. A director of strategic planning may be a CEO in the making and start to exert considerable influence. Maybe your sales executive knows; but maybe s/he does not. Again, we at MLI see it as our charter to find out.

It is one thing to have one individual stating his/her organization has a need. It is another to have the same individual:
1. Express interest in your value proposition. An executive may need to acquire a new ERP solution, but his/her organization could be biased toward another vendor. Need won’t necessarily translate into business for your organization. There must be willingness to review competitive offerings. MLI uncovers any bias that your firm may not be aware of yet may encounter as it engages with a new prospect. Recommendations are issued to help you overcome the obstacle(s).

2. Be only one of several executives involved in the decision-making process, to express need for/interest in your solution and agree to a Next Step. Usually, there is not just one single individual involved in the procurement of a complex solution. But you will find that your organization or sales rep or contracting vendors are often limited in their dealings with your prospects, perceiving them as monolithic organizations with a single interface.

Budget & Timeframe

Is a budget approved? Allocated?
What is the scope of funding?
When will they start evaluating competitive offerings?
When will they make a decision?
When do they plan to implement the solution?

Of course, all these parameters help qualify a lead. A ranking of opportunities is a critical tool that helps manage and optimize your sales funnel. MLI is expert at extracting this mission-critical intelligence so you can prioritize opportunities and win bigger, better, faster, more often.

Hot Leads vs. Remote Leads

Some of your remote leads may end up closing, while inevitably some hot opportunities (based on BANT or Budget/Authority/Need/Timeframe criteria) will die.

Remote leads may provide you with a unique opportunity to build a trusted relationship with your prospects, educate them about the true value of your offering, and give you time to preempt – rather than have to overcome – competitive biases — whereas a hot lead may be a prospect already well engaged with one or several of your rivals. Of course, a remote lead may also mean sales awareness is only starting to build. Funding has yet to be approved and the decision to buy is still months if not a full year away. Still, it is business that will happen. In time, remote leads will become hot leads and then deals.

Robert Louis Stephenson
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
Thomas Edison
Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.

There are ways to have a number of closes by the end of the month – to feel great at the finish line, i.e., a week before the end of your fiscal year. On top of those leads deemed hot, make sure you have a large number of remote or more distant opportunities, some of which will become tomorrow’s hot leads, and you will then get a true shot at beating management/shareholder expectations.

Next Step

MLI will make sure that all leads uncovered stipulate a Next Step – send e-mail and follow up with a phone call at a certain date. Or it may be a meeting, a conference call. Check back in three weeks, two months, six months, a year… It has been shown that following up on qualified leads in a timely manner is one critical predictor of sales conversion.

Benjamin Franklin
You may delay, but time will not.

Here is a simple scenario. You have vendors lined up to help you out – and/or great inside sales. Or maybe your reps are chartered with it. Lead generation is supposed to be taken care of. It was in the budget. You paid for the service. You hired all required resources. Still, you find yourself with a laundry list of great prospects without corresponding sales. You may not wish to wait much longer…

Groucho Marx
Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.

As far lead generation is concerned, MLI has made them all – Maybe you can avoid these mistakes, leverage our experience — We can help you now…

Here is a humble suggestion. Those accounts that you have found so elusive, those accounts that your sales, inside sales, marketing teams have tried to win over and over again only to find that an executive won’t buy your solution because — fill the blank – there can be a thousand reasons why – give them to us. Try us. Launch us.

Start small – just a proof of concept.

And we’ll show you…

Great intelligence and great leads for great deals…

MLI will make a difference.

Nolan Bushnell
The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.


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