Recently, I heard a great quote from Andrew Lloyd Weber, the great composer, theater director and most recently creator of The Profumo Affair, a true story about Stephen Ward and the 1963 scandal that almost toppled the British government of the day. Weber was asked whether or not he thought viewers would enjoy the play. He responded, “I don’t know if people will like it. I write because I want to write.” Weber’s passion, similar to Ayn Rand ‘s character, Howard Roark in Fountainhead, are both examples of worker excellence, not average output. Excellence is what we should set out to achieve on Day One delivering our business services and products. You shouldn’t have to play down to what untargeted industry players say they want or what the latest trend is. The targets you’ve identified from the beginning should be enamored with your service (because you did the homework initially) and they will want to do business with you; it’s all about what you can do for them. Stick to your guns and don’t go outside of your boundaries doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable or for which you have no background or experience. Of course, I don’t disregard making changes for your business because the research shows a new move is needed. Basically, I am promoting the likes of Andrew Lloyd Weber of doing what you like to do and for which you have exceedingly high standards.
My own job focus, lead generation, causes me some frustration, because not every contact is going to be the perfect fit. When Sales-Link sends out emails targeting prospective targets for our customers, I would say that one out of every 20 recipients will actually respond in a positive light; that’s why we send out a few hundred each day. Of course, you’ll get the “I’m not interested” or “Please remove me from your mailing list” responses, but you have to look beyond seeing those to find the rubies.
I often compare lead generation to dating, but more specifically, speed dating. I don’t know if you have ever tried this, but maybe you have seen speed dating on a television show or in a movie. A group of about 25 females will sit down and let the 25 males come to them and lay out their best sales pitch for anywhere upwards of about three to five minutes; then it’s on to the next buyer as it continues until all the males have had a chance to make their rounds to the females. Obviously, you’re not going to find the love of your life in three to five minutes, but you can lay the initial groundwork, and leave them feeling intrigued by what you put forth in that short time frame.
You may have experienced something similar at conferences but not to the level of a speed dating event. Do you wonder why? The answer is that you need to market your offering undeniably hard to resist! Even if you don’t make that initial “in love” connection right off the bat, there is potential for future work or a referral, especially if you said something memorable.
68% of companies report having struggles with lead generation. What’s disheartening is that only 19% of CMOs say that improving their database is a top priority for them, and furthermore, only 17% of marketers spend 15+ hours per week on lead generation. (Statistics courtesy of: prosalesstaff.com) That is an awful effort put forth here and you know why? Because it is hard and it is bare bones work tactics that gets results from lead generation.
These statistics are showing a trend that lead generation isn’t something people are really excited about. My own opinion is we live in a “I want it now society” and you can only coast on that for so long. Of course I’m excited for it; I do lead generation for a living and I have had 10 years and $2M worth of investment put into my operation so I am ready, willing and able.
So what happens if the lead generation you have been doing suddenly goes cold, here are a few tips to think about:
- Is your message clear, compelling and current with the times?
- Did you change your target audience, but not your message?
- Are you aware of what your competition is doing?
- How’s the contact list you are using? Do you know the rate of email returns and percentage of bad emails? Are you using a Prospect Relationship Management or a Customer Relationship Management System? There is a difference and each has a job to do.
- Is it with the leads or closings where you see the problem? It’s estimated that about 70% of appointments fall through the cracks alone, just by not following up on leads.
- What is your mantra? Get one, and know it! Make sure your sales people know it!
- Do you know what the clients want and what their current challenges are?
- Is everything you know also shared with your sales team?
- Do you have a relationship with your pipeline? Do you have a healthy pipeline?
- Lead generation is different from sales and requires certain personal characteristics to be successful. Is your lead generator a hunter or a farmer?
Look into the data you’ve accumulated over the last few years and find out what has been working for you. Sometimes looking back at your past successes/failures can set off some triggers in your mind and encourage you to take a different route.
- You have a mission, you need a message
- You have a mantra, you need targets
- You have sales target, you need a pipeline
- You have sales people, you need lead generators
Every legitimate business has an HR, Finance, Operations and Marketing department. It is important to look at lead generation as an equally important department of your business. With the proper systems, qualified people and reporting requirements there is no limit of success that your company can achieve.