Author and Founder of the KLA Group
>>> Visit MyQuestforTheBest.com for complete show notes and more expert advice and inspiring stories to propel your small business growth. My Quest for the Best is a top-rated small business podcast with over 300 episodes of thought-provoking and insightful interviews with today’s top thought leaders and business experts. Host Bill Ringle’s mission with this show is to provide the strategies, insights, and resources that will unlock the growth potential of your business through these powerful conversations.
Listen to this interview to learn:
- How to set criteria for overcoming your self-doubt
- Who to ask for business advice (and who can’t give you helpful advice, even if more convenient)
- Looking beyond cold calling for lead generation
- How a $5 MM lab simulation company got out of their own way and doubled revenue
- The big breakthrough for a $100 MM security company
- Why campaign success cannot be measured after a single event or e-mail, and how to really make it work
Read the Show Notes from this Episode
- 00:59 “Does anyone ever imagine a career in sales when they’re growing up?”
- 1:27 How growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, including her grandfather who owned a successful shoe peddling business, inspired Lee to become an entrepreneur herself.
- 2:21 “I started with a corporate job. I didn’t know what I wanted as a business. I had a very cavalier attitude toward it all.”
- 2:58 “In a corporate job it’s often hard to tell what are your talents. What should that job be when you start, or what should that business be when you start one? So it took me a while to figure out what were my true talents, that somebody would like to purchase, that would make a good business.”
- 3:31 “When I left IBM I had been in sales, but I didn’t believe that I was as good as I was.”
- 4:20 “Well I started in sales and knew, because of this entrepreneurial background, that I wanted to be what was called a new business sales rep, better known as a hunter…I really wanted to work with companies that had never worked with IBM before.”
- 5:18 “We don’t always recognize what we’re good at and what makes us different. We think everybody else could do it.”
- 5:45 “I actually did not feel that I had the skills to start a business, and still didn’t really know what made me different, and what the market needed. So I chose to leave IBM to see if I really could sell.”
- 6:27 “I thought, ‘If I could make it at the number 2 player, then maybe I could sell, and get over this imposter complex.’”
- 6:58 “Inside of 6 months I was the top rep worldwide, and I had done my million dollar deal. So that was when I realized, ‘Uh, oh. Now I have to do what I said I was always going to do and go start this company. What is it?’”
- 7:20 What Lee did with KLA group to figure out the path the business should take.
- 8:15 “Yes, we still do what I founded KLA Group on.”
- 9:36 “Market analysis could just mean going and talking to the people who are going to buy from you and asking them what they really want.”
- 10:53 “I think talking to your real market gives you a better feel for what exactly it is that you have to offer, and what would they pay for it. Your friends and family can’t do that.”
- 11:57 “The reason I wrote the book is that my staff kept saying to me, ‘Kendra, we have to have a book. People want a book. They want more than just the class.’”
- 13:48 [Myths of prospect generation] – “I think the biggest one is that they can either hiring a telemarketing firm to set appointments and that they’ll have all the appointments they need, or that cold calling is the only way to get new appointments.”
- 14:09 “When we talk about prospecting, your goal is to set an appointment with a prospect that is qualified at the very highest level.”
- 14:48 [On criteria for cold calling] – “They forget that there’s a consistency that’s required, there’s training, and those people who are going to be calling on their behalf really need to understand what your solutions are, who your ideal audience is, why that target market would want to talk with you.”
- 15:27 Why it’s so important for people who are managing the people making cold calls on behalf of the company need to understand sales.
- 16:51 Lee recounts two common downfalls of sales managers.
- 18:12 “The executive team or the business owner needs to recognize how they have to evolve their sales team and be ok with the fact that they may have to bring in a different caliber of person.”
- 18:53 The story of HSF and how KLA Group helped them grow more aggressively.
- 20:14 “Whether you are a small company with only 20 employees, or a larger company like HSF…you still encounter that sales management team that may not truly understand sales, for many it’s like a foreign language.”
- 21:00 [On why people hire KLA Group] – “They may have had failure or a series of failures in either hiring sales people or in executing lead generation, so they may have tried many different lead generation techniques but they’re not seeing results.”
- 22:42 [Common misconceptions about lead generation] – “If they’re thinking about campaigns – lead generation campaigns, nurturing campaigns – they may oftentimes think, ‘If I do one email campaign or if run one event, a lunch and learn or a webinar, I will get leads and that’s all I need to do. They don’t realize that what lead generation is all about or what makes selling easier, even if you’ve got a great hunter salesperson, is that name recognition.”
- 24:15 “Even if you have great [brand] awareness, you have to have certain strategies in place to make sure that your market is going to notice that you are doing that event.”
- 24:39 [On brand awareness and demonstrating consistency] – “It is having a strategy in place that outlines what exactly you want to do from who is your target market to what are the issues they are experiencing that you can address to what can you offer them that’s going to make them want to talk to you.”
- 25:38 How Lee was able to convince one of their largest clients to hire KLA Group.
- 27:43 “When you’re doing lead generation, you can start to identify who are those people who need you right now, and you’re going to move those people into your sales process and start working with them.”
- 28:13 “Lead generation gives you that consistency of a funnel where you’re continuing to nurture until they’re ready.”
- 28:25 Lee’s 4 essential tips for lead generation: strategy, sales follow-up, targeting, and the right message for your target market.
- 30:37 “There are processes in lead generation and processes in sales, there’s a structure.”
- 31:08 “As a business owner, once you’ve had the systems in place – you’ve identified your target market and you have your strategy in place – it’s no different than directing your operations manager. When you’ve got a person who’s fully trained and knows what they’re doing, they don’t need a lot of direction.”
- 32:28 “The biggest thing that I do is communicate with the staff. Direct reports I meet with on a weekly basis.”
- 34:00 “I look outside our industry. I have one person I network with who runs a retail business, another that owns an oil company. For me, I want to talk to people who aren’t just in my same type of business, because I could pick up some great idea.”
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Kendra Lee, owner-president of KLA Group, is a prospecting prodigy and virtual sales magnet who advises and trains mid-market companies to generate leads, prospect, and sell to mid-market companies in innovative ways that breakthrough common sales and prospecting barriers.
Named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2012 by Top Sales World, Top 25 Influential Leaders in Sales for 2012 by Inside View, and Faculty Chair in Prospecting and Lead Generation for the Sales Training Institute, she is author of the award-winning book, Selling Against the Goal and The Sales Magnet (coming January 2013).