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Maintain a pipeline over the holidays

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When starting a new year, most companies work on a 12-month sales cycle. However, given the plethora of public holidays, particularly in South Africa, there are effectively only nine months in which to do the work of 12. With Christmas coming up in less than 60 days, businesses should ensure they have a solid pipeline of leads in place, to make up the shortfall.
This, says Louise Robinson, director of CG Consulting, is where outsourcing lead generation comes in. “Giving this task to an organisation that focuses on lead generation as its core business will guarantee a solid pipeline of leads, and will deliver qualitative results.”
She says there are several reasons for this. “Firstly, a specialist will use many different methods to clean information about prospective clients, including their needs, likes and behaviours. Notably, a lead-generation specialist will consider the sales process from your businesses’ perspective alone, making it simpler for them to understand what your customers want.”
In addition, Robinson says the leads will be qualified. “There will be no time wasted on clients who don’t know what they want, do not need your services, or those who do not have the budget to afford them. All your leads will be potential customers who know what you’re offering, have a need for those products and services, and have the means to acquire them.”
Robinson explains that it takes from three to four months for a single member of a company’s internal lead generation team to be properly qualified and start producing the goods.  “If you expect them to be up to date with the industry, and your specific sales methods, this can take even longer. However, a lead-generation specialist can expect to produce results within a very short space of time, or be shown the door.”
At the end of the day, she says outsourcing lead generation can only benefit an organisation. “It delivers better leads than most in-house teams can, it lowers cost and risk, and boosts business development. Outsourcing your leads can really help a boost and supliment a strong sales pipeline over short months that are plagued with public holidays, and ensure that short months are not detrimental to the business.”
Robinson adds that a solid, clean database is also a vital tool to making sales – at any time of the year, but that having access to one is also instrumental to beating the negative business effects of the public holidays and getting a pipeline in place. “For those companies that elect to do their lead generation themselves, data is vital. But lots of data doesn’t necessarily mean lots of sales. Buying large random databases is a waste of money.
“A focused approach is vital, because it is important to know your target market. This has to be well-researched and not merely an assumption of who would need a product or service. Here, again, a consultancy that specialises in the creation and cleaning of databases can mean the difference between success and failure.”