Creating & launching a successful lead generation program may seem daunting. Here are 6 steps to generate high quality sales opportunities fast.
The decision to launch a new marketing program – or improve an existing one – is often followed by paralysis. There are too many options and you want to get it right. Where do you start?
Let’s assume that, not surprisingly, you want to generate the highest possible number of high quality sales opportunities - fast. There are two points to keep in mind while you’re building this campaign.
Point number one is that this is a multi-step process. The vast majority of prospects will not be “high quality sales opportunities” at the first contact. This has nothing to do with your product, your service or your creative abilities. It has everything to do with your prospects’ normal buying process. And it means that you must make plans for nurturing your leads.
Point number two is that it’s highly unlikely you’ll get everything perfect before you launch – if ever. So, you’ll want to select tactics that can be measured, tested and adjusted throughout the life of the campaign.
Keeping those two points in mind, here’s a 6-step process that is a proven fast path to consistent, sustainable lead generation.
Start by refining your positioning. This requires taking a close look at your customers, your competition your company and your product. Who are your ideal customers? What problems do they have that you can help them solve? Why should they buy your solution instead of one of the others that claim to do the same thing? Get this right from the beginning because nothing else matters if your messaging doesn’t communicate competitive value to your prospects.
Create a free information product that will interest your prospects enough to give you their contact information in exchange for access to the information. Think of it as bait. This can be a white paper, an executive report, a tip sheet, a “How To” kit, a teleseminar, an online seminar – whatever will help your prospects in their quest to understand and solve their problem. Note: this is rarely product information – prospects expect to get that without having to give up their names and email addresses.
Set up an online ad campaign. I find Adwords (Google pay-per-click) to be the easiest to set up. However, it can also be effective to run an ad for your free information product on a website that your prospects frequently visit. (Assuming you don’t already have a database of quality prospects, online advertising is by far the fastest & least expensive way to start creating inbound inquiries. It’s also a great way to test messaging.)
Build a lead capture web page specifically for this campaign. This is where you send prospects to access or register for your free info offer. It has no purpose other than to get prospect contact information in exchange for the free information. You can give truly excited prospects an opportunity to request contact from a sales person on this page if you must, but don’t give them too many other options. It seems that people really don’t like a lot of options and you will lose them.
Create a series of email messages that you will send to your prospects over the six months following the day they download your report or register for your event. The purpose of this email sequence is to stay in touch with your prospects and build a relationship by continuing to provide valuable help. Be ready to send the first message out immediately (at minimum within 24 hours) after download. This is possibly the most critical part of your program, so don’t skip it.
When all the pieces are in place, launch your campaign. Measure. Adjust.
There you have it. 6 steps and you’ve got a solid lead generation campaign. Now all you have to do is execute.
Your lead generation efforts will attract some prospects who are ready to buy. These, of course, should be sent directly to the sales team. Most of the prospects you attract will not be ready to talk with a sales person yet. Don’t give up on them. Keep the relationship warm. It will pay off.
Susan Tatum, co-founder of http://www.tatummarketing.com/, is a recognized expert in business-to-business marketing. She has been helping companies achieve greater marketing results for more than two decades. She regularly publishes B2B marketing strategies and actionable tips on her blog at http://www.susantatum.com/. For a limited time, you can get a complementary copy of her latest executive report 5 Fundamental Strategies of B2B Marketing by visiting http://www.TatumMarketing.com/b2bsuccess