If you are a salesperson, all you can think about may be meeting your goal for this month. But if you are a CEO and you’re not already planting the seeds for success in 2015, you could be in trouble.
Lead generation is your lever to drive growth. You can have the best sales process in the world, but if your lead generation is crummy, you’re going to struggle. Yet with great lead generation, you’ll succeed even with a terrible sales process.
Predictable lead generation helps drive predictable revenue.
One of the best ways to generate leads predictably is through prospecting. It can be done very repeatably (and very effectively), giving you a tool to confidently generate the pipeline you need to hit your goals.
If you’re starting from scratch, and you sell a product or product-like service, assume it’ll take you six months to recruit and ramp a prospecting team to the point where they’re consistently generating high quality opportunities. (Relationship-based or custom professional services take longer because you end up needing to do a lot more work on focusing your target market, niche, message and more.)
It takes 6-12 months (from the start), depending on sales cycles, to see regular revenue coming from this team.
(These numbers are close to what’s needed to build inbound marketing as well.)
This means that if you’re a CEO or VP Sales, the seeds for success next year – 2015 – are already planted right now in 2014. Sales reps can obsess about their next 30-90 days; executives need to juggle short- and long-term planning.
This means, if you want to blow out 2015 – to be sure of it – you just enough time to build and ramp a prospecting team before the end of 2014, so they can be generating pipeline in late 2014 and hit the ground running in January. Every month you wait will be a big loss of 2015 revenue, because of the way prospecting revenue hockey sticks – starting out tiny, growing somewhat then exploding at the end.
If you need a certain amount of extra revenue next year (say $5m), you can work backwards to estimate how big a prospecting team you need in place (and the related costs) by checking out our ROI article.
Remember if you have longer sales cycles (6+ months), almost all your 2015 revenue will come from opportunities generated before or perhaps during Q3 of 2015, so you have even less time to get your lead generation ideas rolling.
Aaron Ross is founder of PredictableRevenue.com and author of the award-winning, #1 Amazon bestseller, ‘Predictable Revenue’. NewVoiceMedia is offering readers a free version of Ross’s new release – ‘Predictable Revenue Guide to Tripling Your Sales’. Written by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin, the e-book shares how businesses can increase revenue with sales technology like NewVoiceMedia’s ContactWorld solutions, which shorten the sales cycle and personalise the customer experience to avoid customer churn and increase upsells and referrals.