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Lead Gen isn’t enough

Do you spend a lot of time collecting names that might be prospects?

Do you spend a lot of money learning how to follow prospects on line, so you can guess where they are in the decision making process?

Has all of this activity substantially increased your ROI?

What you’re forgetting – or ignoring – is that no matter what information the buyer needs, or how often they (and their colleagues) visit your site, or how deftly follow their activity with your ability to track ‘Digital Body Language,’ at the end of the day, you will not be there when they sit down to decide. Nope. The internal decisions that buyers make to choose a solution, to decide to make a change, to select one vendor or solution over another, are off-line. That’s right: you are not there when two department heads have an arguement about which vendor they prefer, or when the tech folks start clamoring to take over a project, or when a partner shows up with a good-enough solution.

The highest closing number I’ve heard – and this number is based on a few very large companies having the funds to set up the technology to follow the ‘Digital Body Language’ from start to finish – is 15%. That means, they are only wasting 85% of their time and effort. Yet because the sales model is so inefficient and typically yields a 7% close, folks think 15% is great. It’s like saying that a doc has to amputate one of your legs, and won’t you be lucky that you’ll still have one leg.


With all of this talk and money being thrown at ‘lead gen’ what is missing? What’s missing is that it continues to focus on the secondary phase of the buying decision: the solution placement end (OK and the needs assessment – but that only pays lip service to solution placement. You wouldn’t call someone on a whim and ask them about their needs if you had nothing to sell.).

The decision to bring in a new solution is the last thing the buyer does. There are many, many things they must do first:

  1. line up the entire Buying Decision Team (which they have not figured out at the beginning of their journey);
  2. figure out if they can resolve the problem with known resources (i.e. internally or with a current vendor/software);
  3. figure out what has to happen for them to get the appropriate buy-in so that the people and policies won’t be disrupted when something new/foreign comes in;
  4. figure out how to meld the old with the new so there is little disruption.

Sales doesn’t do this. Which means, if you’re not using Buying Facilitation® or some form of non-sales decision facilitation method, the best you’ll be able to do is: A. with technology,  monitor activity or place data about your solution; B. with sales techniques and a sales person, gather data, get into relationship, spout solution details, and manage the events.

Do you need to drive prospects to your site so you can gather names and follow them? Of course. But don’t forget the additional steps: contact your prospects; help them discover how they need to manage internal buy-in, and who needs to be involved. Once they figure out how to move forward with buy-in, and the criteria they’ll use to choose a vendor or solution (and you knowing this doesn’t help them decide!), then you’ll be able to sell. Lead gen gets you good prospects. But these prospects are worthless if they don’t buy.

Read my new book Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it. It will help you.


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More Stories By Sharon Drew Morgen

Sharon Drew Morgen is the visionary and thought leader behind Buying Facilitation® the new sales paradigm that focuses on helping buyers manage their buying decision. She is the author of the NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity as well as 5 other books and hundreds of articles that explain different aspects of the decision facilitation model that teaches buyers how to buy.

Morgen dramatically shifts the buying decision tools from solution-focused to decision-support. Sales very competently manages the solution placement end of the decision, yet buyers have been left on their own while sellers are left waiting for a response, and hoping they can close. But no longer: Morgen actually gives sellers the tools to lead buyers through all of their internal, idiosyncratic decisions.

Morgen teaches Buying Facilitation® to global corporations, and she licenses the material with training companies seeking to add new skills to what they are already offering their clients. She has a new book coming out October 15, 2009 called Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it which defines what is happening within buyer’s cultures (systems) and explains how they make the decisions they make.

Morgen has focused on the servant-leader/decision facilitation aspect of sales since her first book came out in 1992, called Sales On The Line.
In all of her books, she unmasks the behind-the-scenes decisions that need to go on before buyers choose a solution, and gives sellers the tools to aid them.

In addition, Morgen changes the success rate of sales from the accepted 10% to 40%: the time it takes buyers to come up with their own answers is the length of the sales cycle, and her books – especially Dirty Little Secrets – teaches sellers how to guide the buyers through to all of their decisions, thereby shifting the sales cycle from a failed model that only manages half of the buying cycle, to a very competent Professional skill set.

Morgen lives in Austin TX, where she dances and works with children’s fund raising projects in her spare time.