Being a lead generator puts pressure on me to deliver leads ready to buy. I understand this mandate and do the best I can with the tools given to me from my clients. However, when there is no content coming forward, the pipeline can dry up. Without targeted content, you are more than delaying–you are kicking yourself out of the game prematurely.
So as the leader of your company or sales/marketing group, what is the appropriate level of your involvement versus your lead generation team regarding writing or directing the content? I would start with ensuring your involvement as promotion director for current events/trends taking place in your industry or popping up in your routine conversations of late. You want to turn the knowledge and interests in your field into CONTENT, written word, blogs, or published articles.
Writing isn’t easy or convenient for most, especially these days with robotics everywhere, i.e., texting, voice mail, message boards, Twitter & Facebook, all wreaking havoc on the art of communicating. However, the bright side is that people are still reading interesting pieces of work. So sit back and assess yourself: What have you written lately? What could you write a few paragraphs about? Turn that over to your marketing and/or lead generation team for composition and finalization. The difference between a really good article and an unnoticed blog is the message you are delivering or perhaps a new insight or serious controversial thought that prompts further thinking. Are you saying something to your audience that resonates with them by teaching them something or is putting a fire of concern or interest in them? But dial it back even further for one moment–are you talking with people in your industry to be able to cultivate good messaging?
Lead generation managers can manage your content and be the point person to encourage subject matters as well provide suggestions/feedback being received from industry as a result of introductory letters sent in the early beginnings of your email promotion campaigns. We help your sales pipeline grow by understanding who is clicking open your links (CONTENT) we place strategically in your marketing materials.
Let’s be honest, 90% of the companies out there probably don’t want to be contacted by a vendor, but 100% of them know they need to be aware of the best products/services in order to position their company for success. I am a big believer that many drugs do not make it through the pipeline successfully because early research options are not explored thoroughly enough. Identifying the latest technologies like with Renovo Neural’s MS/PD models or Elsevier’s Pathway Studio, (more examples can be found at end of blog). One way that researchers can improve their win/loss ratio is to be more interested in interviewing and speaking with vendors to get a better understanding of the value being offered. As agents for our customers, Sales-Link can’t stop trying to reach into the industry with the vast amount of contacts we maintain in our Prospect Management Database to produce leads, but we need your CONTENT. Just as a delivery man needs flowers to complete his delivery, Sales-Link and other lead generators need good CONTENT from their customers to do a great job and deliver leads.
In all respects, CONTENT is king. Whether that is in learning more about vendors, or vendors learning more industry, you need a middle man—someone who will do the busy administrative work, keeping contact information tidy, following up with a prospects who received your informative and pushing, encouraging well written CONTENT.
Sales-Link catches all those opportunities that fall between the cracks. A lead may have shown interest but was too busy to meet last month. Sales-Link pushes to get opportunities plugged into your 30/60/90 day sales forecasts. Again, it is much easier with well developed CONTENT.
Some leadership believes lead generation is valuable but few see the ROI quickly. Why? My observation and experience tells me a few things:
- lack of a strategy before pulling the trigger to begin marketing
- no content clearly describing value and application to the user
- poorly executed communications between Sales/Management and Lead Generation.
In a less than perfect scenario, leads are looked at as not being worth the salesperson’s effort. However, one should ask, “Are the leads and the companies they work for potential customers? In the short or long term? I also provide below a short checklist:
- Ensure Management’s perspective on company growth, challenges and plans are well known by Sales and Lead Generation
- Make yourself aware of the prospective companies and industry segments you want as customers; don’t discount a small opportunity as a lead if the company can fit into a “big” play in the future, I would say then that this could be a great lead
- Sorry to sound like a broken record but do you have the appropriate Content, Content, Content- need I say more?
- Follow through. Put a process in place for zero tolerance in not following up on any lead.
- Teach your staff to be consultants in what they sell; full solution providers not just a widget sales person. Listen closely as your prospect explains his problem and understand their pain points. This will ensure your sales people ask the right questions so the precisely appropriate solution is proposed from start to finish. It may be that your “ready to go product” is not the right solution but perhaps it can be tweaked, combined or restructured for a unique solution. Be a part of the solution or lose the entire opportunity? Your call.
- Get those opportunities into a pipeline report that shows the movement of prospects, like chess pieces, into your 30/60/90 sales funnel.
Leaders: I understand lead generation is questionable, results are mixed. No matter, you will keep trying to use it because everyone wants new blood, new business, new rain makers. Why not invest your time and stay plugged in to the forces that will bring new revenues to you, i.e., your sales and your lead generation. Not all sales people are door openers nor are all lead generators deal closers. You need both.
The combination of Good Content and appropriate prospects is a formula for success in any sales organization. Also remember, no lead is too small to speak with. Every contact knows 200 other people, so they will spread the word if your CONTENT is interesting and your first impression is great and lasting! Happy Hunting.