Sales mentor Lillian Vernon answers the following questions from an inc.com user:
I own a small but quickly growing specialty publishing company. How can a traditional sales force and Internet sales be most effectively complemented and integrated? Also, given that there are thousands of companies specializing in consulting related to Internet-based sales and marketing, how do I evaluate and select consultants in that field?
Lillian Vernon responds:
The Internet is a perfect vehicle to generate leads for your sales force. When potential customers contact your company through your Web site, respond to the inquiries within a week. Since cold calling by salespeople is very costly, the Internet is a much more cost-effective way to generate qualified leads that your sales force can pursue.
Careful research is the best way to select a consultant who can help your company achieve results on the Internet. Before you select a consultant, think carefully about what you want to achieve. Navigate through your competition's Web sites. Determine what you like and don't like about the presentation of their products and services. Also, think of sites you like and try to find the names of the companies that worked on them.
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