Okay, I’ll admit it. I have done them all. I’ve generated detailed leads for Client A. I have managed accounts for Client B. I’ve made thousands of cold calls throughout my career. I have presented, responded, replied and emailed.
While pondering the number of times I have introduced myself to a massive amount of small business owners, executives, CEO’s, CIO’s, managers and receptionists, I began to wonder – what is the big deal? Could I just very well work at 1-800-DONOTCALLME in a loud call center with people yelling in the background or am I actually a professional? To some it is all the same, but here’s how I look at.
This is the crème de la crème of business development. This is when you are given a set amount of accounts that generally already have done business with the company you work for. The people that you contact are usually clients that are pretty familiar with the brand and well fitted for a regular “check in” just to make sure that they are still the happy campers that they were last year.
Don’t get it twisted – account management is still an art. Just like a business owner, you must still balance your efforts with finding new opportunities. You may be required to make cold calls or ask for referrals. If you’re lucky then you can just wait for the phone to ring, but undoubtedly account management requires the utmost product knowledge and level of professionalism. Account Managers or Executives are the real key players in sales in the event that it is a real title that coincides with the activities expected.
You’re almost there if you have an opportunity to generate leads. To me, this means that you make countless cold or warm calls and locate potential customers who have a well-defined desire to learn more about the product or service you are offering. If they don’t have that desire then your goal is to create it. In a successful engagement someone answered the phone at last and they have agreed to receive information, they were friendly and they would remember talking to you if your manager asked.
The difference between lead generation and account management is the fact that you are most likely forwarding these leads to someone else with full faith that they will close the deal. After you have mastered the process and established a solid flow, this is a great position to be in while you learn more about the product that you are offering. Lead generation (also known as lead gen) can be very rewarding as well.
In my opinion, telemarketing is entry level sales. It is just what it is called telephone – marketing. During each call, no matter how mundane it seems, you are still increasing brand awareness. This most often involves a shorter sales cycle and a lower priced items. It also may involve a one call close or a script. You are a vital revenue building machine, reliant on your own loquaciousness to succeed. It is here that you learn how to present a product or service and how to move beyond rejection and keep “smiling & dialing”.
I believe that all three roles are significant. There are similarities (including lots of coffee required), but they are definitely different. Although I often wonder what my life would have been if I hadn’t had a sales career, I can never deny the opportunities that it has afforded me to enhance my communication skills, overcome my fears, live with rejection and focus on that one YES.
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