1. Have your sales team and your marketing team work together on a regular basis. Ideally that would be weekly, but at the worst fort-nightly or monthly is fine. One of the key topics for them both to discuss together is exactly who are your exact target customers? If both sales and marketing are aiming at the right type of customers, then one activity will piggyback off the other activity, and increase the chances of generating new customers. Plus by targeting the right sort of customers, you’ll probably also maximize the number of referrals you get.

2. Understand your pipeline. Every business brand and industry is unique when it comes to the typical sales pipeline or marketing pipeline, to generate new clients. Sit down as a team and work out what the logical process is going to be for you to interact with your customers, to bring them on board. For example, do you send a letter of introduction, followed by a phone call, followed by an email, followed by a phone call, followed by a visit, followed by a proposal, followed by a phone call, or what are the steps that you need to do? Understand your sales pipeline.

3. Pick up the phone and make some appointments. As with anything we’re taught over the last decade and more, it’s only those that take action that actually grow their businesses. So challenge your whole team to make 20 calls every single week and see what happens after a month in terms of lead generation.

4. Develop your techniques. Become trained internally or externally to master the art of questioning skills, especially open-ended questions. Challenge yourself and your team to be the best people at opening clients up. The more you understand of their problems and needs, the more likely it’ll be that you’ll not only give them the right solution, but the more likelihood is they’ll listen to your solution anyway.

5. Not only make your calls earlier in the day while you’ve got the highest level of energy and mental alertness, but always be prepared to approach an organization from different levels. If you’ve struggled to get hold of the purchasing manager, consider speaking to the sales manager and ask for a verbal introduction internally. The sales manager is normally far more open. If not, go through to the finance team, who will definitely try to get rid of you, in which case they’ll probably give you the name of the purchasing manager, and even the deputy purchasing manager to go through to it. Either way, have a positive attitude and take action.