I finally caught up on a long overdue "to read" pile on my desk. Each year, it seems, a few hot new lead generation tactics get lots of media attention. Based on the recent headlines, it’s safe to say that online lead generation (search, podcasts, RSS, etc.) will remain hot topics in 2006. I say, go ahead and freely explore new tactics for your marketing mix but above all, think.
When it comes to the nuances of the complex sale, wisdom is rarely gleaned from the headlines. I wince a bit at the implied "everyone’s doing it, so you should too" message portrayed. Why? Because it works. By nature, many of us follow the crowd when that might be exactly what we shouldn’t do.
As simple as it seems, thinking effectively is vital to developing solid lead generation strategy. Our mindsets ultimately influence our strategic choices. Investing in lead generation means you are proactively initiating a relationship with a potential customer.
Think relationships. Good lead generation identifies, initiates, and nurtures relationships with the right people, until they are sales-ready leads. Lead generation is a conversation, a dialogue; it is not a series of campaigns. Again, companies don’t buy; people do. This mindset can open up a whole new set of possibilities.
Think multimodal. For strength and stability, a table requires all four legs. To lose one is to become less sound, less secure. So too with lead generation. Do you rely on a minimum of tactics, maybe to save a dollar? Or do you proceed with a strong and stable base?
Think about your value proposition. Is your lead generation strategy tailored, relevant and meaningful to each person involved in the buying process? It is important to note, too, that thinking in terms of multiple modalities for lead generation allows marketing and sales to retrofit revised messaging whenever knowledge about the prospect’s position in the buying process is updated.
Think critically. Think white space. Not copying your competition. What worked yesterday doesn’t necessarily today or tomorrow. Frequently, lead generation programs don’t allow for contingency plans. Or adequate feedback mechanisms that would foretell the need or opportunity for alteration in the first place. If a tactic fails to deliver, be ready to modify it or replace it.
Again, I encourage you to resist the temptation to follow the crowd that’s reacting to each hot new lead generation tactic. Rather, think critically about your unique situation and what make senses for your organization. Focus on developing the optimal mindset first, then strategies, and finally tactics. Think.