Every business needs sales to survive and prosper, and sales are invariably generated by leads – and if you don’t generate leads for your business, you won’t make any sales!
What is a lead?
According to leading marketing company, HubSpot, a lead is “a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape or form.”
Since the early days of lead generation, the method of collecting leads has changed dramatically. In the 1800’s billboards were the way to go – such modern technology (bearing in mind that many people viewing them were probably illiterate!). Knocking on doors (or cold calling) was, and still is to a minor extent, a way of generating sales leads. TV and radio ads, newspaper ads, leaflet drops, call centre calls (no, I HAVEN’T been involved in a car crash, thank you) all played their part in the business of lead generation.
Nowadays it is likely to be email marketing, SMS marketing that try to persuade us to become a client of a company.
Ideally, you’d want your potential buyers to raise their hands by interacting with a form on your website, responding to an online ad or phoning in with an enquiry so you can put them into your lead generation conversion process to try and convert them into customers.
The process is much more complex than ‘get lead, make sale’.
Nowadays, with the mobility of customers – and the plethora of choices easily available – it is important to take your leads through a careful nurturing process to persuade them why you are the company they should work with, and why, once the sales process is completed, they should stay with you – and do more business with you.
This is the key to strong business growth; by delivering the highest level of service to your customers, when they need a service that you provide – they will use you again.
The late marketing legend, Gary Halbert had a philosophy that summed it all up. He once asked a group of his students the following question:
“If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who would sell the most hamburgers, what advantages would you most like to have on your side?”
The answers vary. Some people say they would like to have the advantage of having superior meat from which to make their hamburgers. Others say they want sesame seed buns. Others mention location. Someone usually wants to be able to offer the lowest prices.
And so on.
Anyway, after my students are finished telling what advantages they would most like to have I say to them: “O.K., I’ll give you every single advantage you asked for. I, myself, only want one advantage and, if you will give it to me, I will whip the pants off of all of you when it comes to selling burgers!”
“What advantage do you want?” they ask.
“The only advantage I want,” I reply, “is A STARVING CROWD!”
He went on further to explain his philosophy on growth by using the example of a thirsty crowd buying drinks from his stand. Again he asked his students how they would grow the business. After several (wrong) answers, Gary revealed his secret – ‘Sell them a second glass’. And the key to selling them a second glass was to ensure that the customer was SATISFIED with his initial purchase.
The best leads to aim for are what are termed ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ – those easiest to pick up – the analogy based around fruit harvesting; don’t pick your fruit from the top of the tree when there are plenty to hand on the lower branches.
In the 21st Century, Lead Generation is little more sophisticated – and complex- than it used to be. It follows a fixed process of ATTRACT – CONVERT – CLOSE – DELIGHT and has multiple touchpoints to bring leads in and through the funnel. The image below illustrates the steps to be taken to bring in and monetise leads.
Your ultimate aim in this process is not only to convert your leads to leads, but also to nurture them to such an extent that they become advocates for you, actively bringing in additional sales for you through word of mouth recommendation.
Of course you can reward them in some form by having a formal referral scheme (you SHOULD implement one) but if you delight clients sufficiently, they will recommend you anyway.
Why Lead Generation Projects Fail
Lead Generation comprises multiple phases with multiple nuances in each, but unfortunately the majority of prospecting fails due to one or more of the following factors:
1. The wrong strategy is deployed
2. The content is poor or missing altogether
3. The client touchpoint (the landing page) is ineffective
4. The follow-up is neither structured nor logical
Don’t worry if these terms are unfamiliar to you, in subsequent posts, I will explain these fully and show you the RIGHT way to plan a Lead Gen campaign.