Lead Generation – What’s in a Lead Definition

Everyone knows what a closed sale is! It is real and measurable. But can anyone say with certainty that there is a universal understanding on what a “Lead” is?

Consider the following progression from simple leads to more complex qualified leads:

1)      Individual name/title, company, phone number/email.

2)      Individual name filtered by self-identifying action via a website download, social media, participation in a trade show, etc.

3)      Individual who has committed to an appointment with a sales rep to hear “the pitch”.

4)      Individual who listens to “the pitch” and wants to learn more.

5)      Individual who in speaking with a lead generator/business development/sales rep reveals details about their interest, needs, initiatives, and timeframes.

6)      Individual who has revealed they are buying a solution and are considering purchasing yours.

For Business Development, Marketing, and Sales professionals, what is apparent is that there is a “pipeline” for leads, just as there is a pipeline for sales opportunities.  Both pipelines are important to engage, follow-up, nurture, and track.  It is crucial to establish a working definition so that you can avoid duplication of effort and prevent losing touch with prospects.

Telemarketing – Under Used and Under Appreciated

The following chart reprinted from Marketing Profs (www.marketingprofs.com) suggests social media is among the least effective strategies when it comes to lead generation. Whereas, inside sales and telemarketing are among the most effective.

Growing your business is tough work.  Generating leads and qualifying them to a higher level are among the greatest challenges business marketers face today.

The message is simple.  If you know where you want to end up, make sure to use all of the best tools at your disposal to travel that path.  Don’t get side tracked with all the hype.  Targeted outbound  telemarketing and business development are still among the best and most reliable methods for filling your sales funnel and growing your top line.

 

 

Want to reach your targets? Try off hours.

Dr. James Oldroyd, a Professor at Sung Kyun Kwan Graduate School of Business conducted a study in 2007 with the Kellogg School of Management to study cold calling success and came up with some surprising information.

The study took place over 4 months with companies of various sizes from more than 40 industries taking part with 495 responses.

They discovered that with the best cold calling times that we currently think of are in fact completely wrong. Most people would probably suggest that the best times to cold call would be from late morning, over lunch and then the early afternoon, when people are about, right?

Wrong. The statistical information gleaned from the study is quite the reverse.

The absolute best times to cold call are between the hours of 8-9am and 4-5pm, with the lunchtime period of 1-2pm being the absolute worst.

Whilst the study didn’t go into why these times were the best and worst, it’s probably not too hard to put your own theory around the “Why”. For instance, the 8-9am slot probably works because it’s before “normal work hours” (if they still exist) and so your decision maker’s gate keeper may not be at their desk yet, or simply that your decision maker’s day may officially start at 9am with rounds of meetings, hence why they are at their desk a little earlier to get ahead of the day.

With the 4-5pm slot, there are not usually as many meetings scheduled for this time of the day compared to the rest of the day and so your decision maker again may be at their desk. Many meetings are scheduled over the lunch period, and lunch itself takes place eliminating the lunch period as a good time at all.

The research also says that the very best day to cold call is Thursday, and the very worst day is Friday, go figure why on that. Having spoken to others about their own best days, it boils down to wherever you get the most success yourself, stick with that.

Bridging Multi Channel Marketing and Sales Lead Generation

Bridging Multi Channel Marketing and Sales Lead Generation

In the 21st century, companies that are start-up, early stage or well established are faced with myriad ways in which to apply their marketing efforts and hard earned dollars.  Below is just a short list of channels:

  • Direct mail/email campaigns.
  • Search Engine Marketing and SEO.
  • Industry events and conferences.
  • Interactive/social media.
  • Press releases
  • …and the list goes on.

The message in all this is that you invest your time, effort and dollars in campaigns that are designed to fill your sales pipeline.  But in order for that to happen, applying the above strategies requires your prospects to do something first.  The measure of how good your marketing campaigns are is how often people will click on a link or call or connect when they see or hear an advertisement.   Hopefully your messages are inspirational enough to make the prospect take that next step.  But hope and wait are passive strategies.

The responses that do come in need a response mechanism which is likely your inside sales team who can then follow up and further qualify.  These passive marketing campaigns create further awareness and that does soften up the battlefield for B2B telemarketing.  More times than not, prospects need to hear from you or be touched multiple times before they make contact.

B2B telemarketing or telequalifcation is a proactive strategy that complements your marketing strategies.   Both must be done in concert for true sales lead generation with the best qualified leads moving through the pipeline and developing into closed sales that deliver you revenue.

Bottom-line, it’s not just marketing nor just sales.  It’s a concerted and effective handoff between the two groups for optimal results.  We’ll take the active approach for you and turn passive interest into qualified interest.  We’ll bridge the marketing to sales gap.

 

Lead Generation Basics – The Right Time

We have all heard the familiar refrain about life — “Timing is everything!” Well, it is the same when it comes to volume targeted calling. Every time you pick up the phone to call, you have to anticipate connecting with that opportunity that makes all the cold calling work worth the effort.  Some call this luck.

But, success on a long term basis is a result of making your own luck.  Regarding cold calling, this means pitching the Right Message to the Right Targets and catching them at the Right Time.  How do you maximize the probability of connecting with people who will end up purchasing your product or service?

  • Aggressively make calls 100-150 per 8 hour day if you are manually dialing, as many as 200 or more with an automated dialing system.  Fewer than this, you are not maximizing your probabilities. More than this, you are likely not talking to anyone.
  • Do not confuse number of dials with progress if the resulting number of conversations is in the single digits per week.  If you are not talking to people, enough people, you will never uncover a need that will lead to an opportunity.
  • Do not dismiss initial resistance with not being the “Right Time”.  Just because you do not learn of the existence of an active budgeted initiative on a cold call, it does not mean the prospect will not buy.  Most prospects have money and their company’s priorities are often changeable, so money can be moved to cover any purchase if compelling enough.