April 23

Seven lead generation tips

Lead Generation


I’m taking a break from blogging, just for a few weeks, while I complete my book, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale (McGraw-Hill Trade 2005).  I can’t wait to share it with you! 

In the meantime, I put together a list of my seven favorite lead generation tips.  I hope you find them useful.  Be sure to check out my archives, I’ve updated many of my previous posts with new ideas. 

  1. Build a ideal customer profile – Focus your energy on leads that best fit your ideal customer profile.  What separates your best and worst customers?  What are their attributes and demographics?  What magazines do they read?  What organizations do they belong to? 
  2. Talk to you best customers – How much do you really know about your customers?  A simple phone call can generate plenty of useful information.  Ask your customers why they chose to work with you?  Is that the same reason they keep doing business with you?  How has working with you helped their business?  Would they refer you to other people?  Use this information to refine your message to gain more leads just like your best customers. 
  3. Know the needs you can solve – once you under stand why clients chose your products or service you can tailor your message around the needs you solve.  Why are you relevant?
  4. Define your goals for lead generation – Be clear on what you want.  Do you want 200 more leads to your database?  Do you want to generate $600K in new business in revenue this year?  Do you want to add 26 new customers this quarter? 
  5. Define what is a qualified lead to your sales team?  Savvy marketers know that the fastest way to fail is to not get buy-in from their sales team before they start their lead generation.  I repeat, it’s essential to get your universal lead definition written and agreed upon by all parties.  Typical definitions include the following criteria:
    a. Is there a defined need or initiative for your solution?
    b. Do they have the authority?  Are they a decision maker?
    c. When is their decision going to be made?  Time frame?
    d. Do they have a formal/informal budget? 
    e. What’s the potential size of the opportunity?
    f. Are they ready to speak to a sales person? 
  6. Have a follow-up plan – While you may generate leads from your initial campaign, you will generate more by following up with additional touches.  What kind of follow-up plan does your sales team follow? 
  7. Develop a good house list – purchased lists have limitations.  Even the best lists are not 100% accurate.  During the planning phase you should make sure your list fits your ideal customer profile.  Even if you doing a direct mail campaign it is important that you purchase a list that includes as much information as possible so that it can be used for future marketing campaigns.  Enlist your sales team to help you update your database with new information as they follow-up on leads. 

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. Your site is great. I am a partner at a Hosted CRM provider called InsideSales.com. We have built our application specifically to service the inside sales space. However, we find that it is largely an unrecognized space by most vendors even though there are thousands of companies have inside sales departments and teams. It’s great to find more evangelists for the space.

  2. Wow, I really enjoy your site. The information you share is so valuable. As I’m taking notes I getting writers cramp from all the excellent tips you are sharing.

    Can’t wait to read your book.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you. It is always nice to hear comments like this. Glad you found them useful.

  4. Excellent blog, Brian. We do a lot of lead gen work in my consulting practice as well. I would just add to your item #5 (sales team involvement) that really it’s often Inside Sales that is the internal customer or hand-off point. They take “leads” which are really often “inquiries” or “responses” from a marketing campaign and qualify them sufficiently to pass on a subset of “qualified leads” to Sales for action. So the flow is: mktg -> inside sales -> sales. I have a little article on Inside Sales at

    http://www.pacifica-group.com/resources-inside-sales.html if you’re interested.

    I have already passed on your blog to some of my clients. Great work!

    Thank you!

  5. A colleague of mine intrduced me to your blog and the first post I read gave me my agenda for my next sales meeting. Thanks…

    I find that sales people are often running so fast that we lose sight of who our ideal prospect/client is. Every once in a while we have to take a step back and review best practices.

    I’m going to pass on a link to your blog to the team and encourage them to read through it.

  6. Great blog — I’m definitely adding you to my typelist!

    One comment though…on #5, I find that my sales team is better equipped to tell *me* what a qualified lead is. I work with a talented, experienced group of sales professionals, all of whom have worked in our industry for years. These guys are super-smart and have been with this company longer than I have, and they have more direct client contact – something we as marketers don’t always have the opportunity to enjoy.

    As a result, I defer to them for deeper information on our target audience, including who the best leads are. (Yes, I have a good sense of things, but they’re the ones on the front lines.)

    I know not every marketer enjoys this kind of relationship and mutual respect with their sales team, but if you can forge a friendship with them, you probably should. At the end of the day, a strong relationship helps both of you do your job more easily — and makes your company more successful.

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