B2B Lead Generation

by Rick Braddy on November 14, 2009

in Email Marketing

b2b-lead-generationHere’s a few excerpts from an excellent post by Brian Carroll, CEO at InTouch and author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and the Start with a Lead blog.  For more information on the source article, check out the Lead Generation Checklist blog post.

In this particular post, Brian summarizes the 6th in an an 8-part series called the “Lead Generation Checklist”, a comprehensive approach for helping organizations optimize their lead generation processes.  Brian outlines a complete system for companies to use in generating leads, as discussed below:

To be successful at generating leads for a complex sale, marketers can’t rely on one specific tactic but rather they need to leverage a portfolio of channels. To illustrate, I created a mind map of what multi-modal lead generation looks like (click image to enlarge).

It begins with a mindset that sees lead generation as an ongoing conversation – with human beings – that’s both multi-modal and iterative. This isn’t about doing random acts of marketing hoping something sticks.

Here are a few tips for creating a mult i-modal lead generation approach that will positively affect your bottom line:

View your Lead Generation Program as you would your financial portfolio. If you can’t measure channels or programs in terms of return on investment to the organization (leads generated, business closed, opportunities in the funnel) then the company should not be expected to invest in them. Maintain an assortment of researched and/or proven best-fit channels that can be drawn upon whenever needed.

Assess the number and mix of channels required. The model above shows a vast number of ways to generate leads for the complex sale. As you look over it, ask yourself a few questions: Which of these channels are we using? Which are our competitors using? Now think of what you know about your prospect’s buying process. Identify the gaps.

Adopt a flexible and iterative approach. Your program should allow marketing and sales to retrofit messages whenever a prospect’s position in the buying process changes. What worked yesterday may not work today. Complacency is not part of the marketing game. Well-performing or under-performing tactics should be quickly identified and dealt with accordingly. If a tactic fails to deliver, be ready to modify it or replace it.

Understand the synergies of various tactics for best ROI. Do you know how your tactics are performing? Are they working together in a complementary way to connect each step in the customer’s buying process? Try to detail a lead generation calendar for the year that maps out anticipated programs and tactics by month and quarter. Employ an effective closed-looped feedback system to structure information from the sales force than can be converted to actionable tactics. Collect sales feedback regularly and as rapidly as possible.

Not only do the disciplined integration and maintenance of a history of touches in the database aid relevancy, they open doors to tactical personalization.

Test and improve every tactic in your portfolio. The best way to maximize your budget resource is get more out of what you’re already doing. I don’t know a CEO or CFO that doesn’t already think this way, so why should marketers be any different? When was the last time you looked at your program and asked, “how can I make this a channel perform better?”  Are you testing how you can optimize your lead generation results?

We know that in the complex sale most contacts do not become immediate leads so once dialogue has begun, other tactical modes should be set up to keep the conversation going. Remember, every touch should represent and communicate value. The tactics you choose should ultimately help your future customers (aka leads) form their opinions, directly or indirectly, as they proceed through the buying process.

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