The ‘One Percenters’

Lead Management for Buyers/Sales Team

Make the most of leads to grow your business

Photo Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

I’m an avid Gold Coast Suns supporter and I’m also obsessed with statistics.

AFL coaches love to encourage their players to “keep doing the one percenters” — those seemingly small acts of extra effort that, in and of themselves, don’t win or lose the game, but collectively stack up to influence the end result.

When you’re paying for premium leads to grow your business, the things you do to handle those leads are your ‘one percenters’ — you must do these things well to make sure you don’t drop the ball before it goes sailing through the goalposts.

Before co-founding Cobra Digital, the years I spent working call centre phones across various industries gave me valuable insight into best practice in lead generation and conversion.

If you’re investing in premium leads, you need to make sure your business has the right systems in place to manage those leads correctly, and that your sales staff have the skills to handle them.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for using lead generation to grow your business…

1. Strike while the lead is hot

Not too long ago I was mad keen on buying a racing drone. You get to wear these virtual reality goggles and race at speeds of like 180 km/hour. Who wouldn’t want one, right? In that moment I really did. But then I got distracted. And a few days later I’m thinking, ‘Why am I spending $1000 on a racing drone? Do I really need one?’ (I do, actually, need one but maybe just not right now).

Hot leads are new, they’re fresh, the person is actively interested, and they qualify for the product. If you can get them on the phone within three days, your chances of making the sale are high. Try calling at different times of the day. For example, on day 1 call in the morning and early afternoon; Day 2 call around lunch and late afternoon. Don’t call too much or they may assume you’re a telemarketer, or just plain desperate.

2. Make that first contact count

An SMS is my first preference for touching base with a lead. Let them know that you’d like to call and the number they can expect to see on their phone. This is really important — if your call centre does cold calling, those numbers will likely be flagged on most phones. When you call a hot lead and your number shows up as spam, you’ve essentially done your dosh. Use new numbers, or recycle old ones, when calling hot leads.

If you can’t get in contact via phone, a well-crafted email sequence can be an effective means of keeping the window open, but keep it casual. Something like, ‘Hey, I tried to call but didn’t get hold of you. Are you still interested?’ Remember, these leads are hot so you don’t need to hit them over the head with a hammer.

For industries such as solar, for example, that uses in-home appointments, include a link to an online booking system in your email. It’s all about giving your lead lots of easy, no pressure options to follow through.

3. Track your leads like a pro

Businesses which are well set up to handle hot leads have an automated process in place to keep track of prospective customers in their system. You need to know who you’ve called and what needs to happen next. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software (such as Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho, Pipedrive, SharpSpring) makes this much easier.

Any lead that you call once and then leave to fester is wasted money. You also want to retain leads to follow up at a later date. Recycling leads by touching base at 3, 6, and 12 month marks will often result in a sale. If your system is set up to integrate with your email software, you can nurture your leads ongoing with a sequence of emails to keep you front of mind for when they’re ready to buy.

4. Treat the lead as hot

If your sales staff are used to chasing cold leads all day, an adjustment needs to be made to handle hot leads. These leads are already interested, they’re often ready to buy, so that initial approach should be about building rapport, trust in the product, and trust in the company they’re dealing with. Create a sales script for your call team to follow or bring in a trainer to upskill them on how to convert hot leads.

5. Keep your sales staff hungry

If you left a box of Krispy Kreme donuts in the office kitchen every morning, what do you think might happen? Staff would get full pretty quickly, right? And they would come to expect their daily donut. Before long donuts are left half-eaten or let go stale on the bench. We don’t want that to happen to your leads.

Know how many leads your sales team can handle — too many will make them lazy and entitled. There’s a lot less calling to do for a sales rep to get results from hot leads, but there’s a balance to be struck. You don’t want to minimise your team and overload them with leads.

One client tells me that if a sales rep doesn’t convert their leads, they don’t get more the next day, while those who make sales get double leads the next day. I’ve found that giving more sales staff fewer leads tends to keep them all hungry.

Reuben Scheckter is co-founder of Cobra Digital, which specialises in sourcing hot leads for maximum ROI. See