Let’s game-plan a scenario: Your company has got a good (or great, hopefully the latter) product line, your sales team is armed with pitch materials, case studies, etc… They’re well-armed to win new business or invigorate their existing clients and approach them with solid up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. So it’s up to the marketing team to create a thorough lead generation plan and put it into action. Here are 10 important things to consider so that marketing team can hand nice warm leads over to their crack sales team.
1. Think of all of the channels through which you can generate leads, and come up with a feasible plan to drive lead gen through the best options. It’s great if you have a large team and major budget, allowing for a plan with more breadth, but with limited resources, it is crucial to ascertain this at the outset and have confidence that you will quickly produce warm leads for the sales team.
2. Don’t be afraid to try something new, though it is smart to do a test-case before jumping in with a significant new expense. Prove your case before you take a big budget hit that doesn’t provide returns.
3. Define what the lead generation and nurturing plans and goals are for both your existing customer base and also for new business leads. They could be quite similar, but I’ve seen many situations where there is a sharp contrast in the lead gen and sales approaches between the two.
4. Analyze, analyze, analyze. Yes, I am talking about data here, it’s what drives our mad world, more and more each day. Don’t just look at key metrics, look deeper to see if you can spot trends or patterns that will help you get even more exacting with your lead generation targeting.
5. Even with the importance of data analysis, qualitative analysis is still a very important component to understanding what is working and not working in your lead gen. Is an inside sales team making calls to prospects? What is getting them in the door and starting conversations? What is a non-starter? Is the customer or prospect able to easily see where your product or offering solves a problem or tackles a challenge they have?
6. Similarly, qualitative feedback from your sales team is important too. Taken as a whole, they can clue you in as the the readiness of a lead. Through their feedback you should be able to glean whether they feel that you are turning over properly qualified leads to them.
7. Keep in mind that it often pays off to do something that others in your industry aren’t doing. It can really pay off to be different from your competition, if you realize opportunities to help your company, products and image stand out from among the clutter. Nobody else does creative direct mail pieces, but you’ve got an amazing idea for one? Why not try a small test and test the waters?
8. You may have a singular goal of reaching the decision maker, but bear in mind that those decision makers often have trusted advisers that serve as influencers. Understanding the nuance of their relationships and roles can sometimes be hard to decipher, but often winning over a key influencer can lead directly to the decision maker.
9. Think like a sales person, in that perhaps there are ways to facilitate a faster interest in purchasing, or a lower-cost entry point that can not only generate warm leads, but also provide quick wins for the sales team.
10. How to handle those organizations that are the perfect target, but nothing you seems to open the right door or start a conversation? It can be very helpful to discuss the organization and what attempts have been made to sell to them; and also to know what other solution or product they are using, if any. In these instances your company needs to know precisely why they have not been able to sell in, and your marketing knowledge can be vital in developing creative solutions in these situations.