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Lead Generation

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How important is lead generation to the success of your company?

Creating a successful lead generation plan can seem like a daunting task. But, continued success for most companies requires developing a sales funnel. And the key is to convert as many prospects as possible in the sales funnel into leads.

There are a number of opportunities to add prospects to the sales funnel. In fact, every time someone from your company comes in contact with a prospect, there should be a mechanism to capture their information. Whether someone is coming to your website for the first time, people you meet at trade shows, calls to the main line, etc., every name should be captured.  

Now, it’s easy to get lost figuring out how to start, what to do first and how to keep it going. According to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from 60 - 90% of the way through the buying journey before they ever reach out to a company. With so much access to information on the Internet, buyers may delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves. All the more reason it’s important to create a successful lead generation program.

Before you begin, you’ll need to answer these five questions:

  1. Is my database “Lead Gen” ready? Make sure your database is clean, updated and includes, at a minimum, a physical mailing address, email address and phone number for each prospect.

  1. Is my list of prospects large enough? Knowing response rates are typically 5% or less, if you only have 1000 names then you can only expect 50 people to read your marketing materials on average. Converting those 50 people may only yield five or less leads you can pass on to sales. So, look to expand your database through data capture on your website, trade shows, events and other opportunities your company is engaged in.

  1. Do I have a flow of consistent data into the database? Each and every time your sales team in in contact with a prospect something new is learned. Be sure your sales reps are helping you by providing data with all your required fields, and other relevant information.

  1. Do I have buy-in from management? When setting out to develop any marketing program it’s critical to have alignment throughout the organization with regard to vision and action plan. This will undoubtedly lead to the success or failure of your campaign.

  1. Is the sales team on board with your marketing plan? The strategic alignment of the sales and marketing teams will increase efficiency and qualified leads. The sooner you get sales involved in the lead gen process, the more successful it will be.   

Generating a higher rate of sales-ready leads through a lead generation program is essential for today’s marketers. Take one step at a time and make sure you have enough time to successfully implement by building a communication schedule for your campaign.

Based on a three month long buying cycle your communication schedule could look something like this:

     Day 1 - Introductory email

     Day 10 - Email offering new content/related to website activity

     Day 15 - Personal email

     Day 28 - Email whitepaper

     Day 45 - Call from sales rep to ‘check in’

     Day 60 - Email promoting educational series

     Day 75 - Personal email/product demo

     Day 85 - Schedule in-person meeting

     Day 90 - Sales proposal via email

                                                                                                                            

Note: the communication becomes more frequent as the buying cycle progresses… This is based on the behavior of the individual in the campaign. There will be multiple paths an individual could take based on what they do/download. Test the effects of frequency with multiple campaigns – testing is often confined to email subject lines and content, but also testing frequency and timing can optimize your results dramatically.

Joe Contrino is CEO of The Contrino Group, a direct marketing agency located in Lafayette, CO.

Joe is an award winning direct marketer with over 32 of years of experience.   Prior to founding The Contrino Group, Joe was a Senior Partner at Suite 700 Direct, Integrated Marketing Solutions Manager at Henry Wurst, Inc., and CEO and owner of Contrino Direct Marketing, Boulder, CO.

Joe is a Direct Marketing Association Certified Direct Marketer Professional, Industry Co-Chair of the Denver Postal Customer Council Board of Directors, and speaks regionally and nationally on direct marketing topics and trends.

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