This is the sixth in an eight-part series I’m calling the ‘Lead Generation Checklist.’ I wanted to provide a checklist that helps organizations optimize their lead generation process.
My first post was on the mindset we should have – one that involves “pulling” not pushing; in the second installment, was on how to drive sales and marketing at one time; thirdly, I outlined steps for creating an ideal customer profile in addition to an un-Ideal customer profile.
We should be smart with our time and learn to recognize the signs that tell us when not to pursue a lead. In my fourth installment, I outlined how to create a universal lead definition that drives sales. My fifth step was on treating your marketing database as a valued asset. Now for the sixth step on developing a multi-modal lead generation portfolio.
It begins with a mindset that sees lead generation as an ongoing conversation – with human beings – 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 multi-modal lead generation approach that will positively affect your bottom line:
See lead generation like a financial portfolio.
If you can’t measure channels or programs regarding return on investment to the organization (leads generated, the 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 the 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 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 to get more out of what you’re already doing. I don’t know a CEO or CFO who doesn’t already think this way, so why should marketers be different? When was the last time you looked at your program and asked, “how can I make this 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 the 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.
9 1/2 Ways… to Generate and Follow Leads
Lead Capture: How undermining value impacts conversion
Lead Generation: It’s all about building relationships
Lead Nurturing: 5 Useful Tactics to Get More Opportunities