Leading the way…Lead Generation
Let’s face it. Next to referrals and recommendations, leads are the next best source of new customers. Yet, Sapper Consulting reports that outbound marketing has experienced a decrease of 40% in effectiveness in the past five years. Now would be an excellent time to review and adjust the brand’s lead generation strategy.
Fact-finding is the first important step. Like a good journalist, drilling down to the critical and important facts is key. Determine the brand’s ICP (ideal customer profile). Unlike a target customer who could be described as someone who might buy the brand, the ICP profiles valuable consumers who are most likely to purchase.
Information gleaned from existing data should be the basis of a plan that tailors marketing to this select audience. Done properly, brands can expect to experience quicker sales cycles, higher conversion rates, and bigger average ACV (annual contract values) and LTV (lifetime values).
Important to this process is collecting and analyzing data that are qualitative, predictive, and quantitative with the brand’s key stakeholders to get a clear picture of the ideal customer. Data from CRM, ERP, and other programs are also helpful.
Together with all other departments who have a hand in marketing and sales, draft and agree on a strategy with goals, timelines, and action plan to market to customers fitting the ICP. Other considerations for the strategy and goals include the brand’s sales cycle, current ROI, and conversion rate.
A realistic timeline is three to four months, but if it’s launched during a normally busy season, the results may not be valid. Knowing the brand’s current conversion rate will help determine how many leads the brand needs to bring in every reporting period. Be aware that inbound and outbound leads may convert differently.
Determining which channel(s) to use may be the biggest challenge. Deciding to use paid advertising, good SEO on the website, social media, etc., can be perplexing without good data. If it’s available, decide which channels seem to work best for the brand’s ICP.
Another option is to outsource it to a firm that has a proven track record. Paramount in going this route knows where they expect to generate leads and their targeting and outreach processes. What’s important to keep in mind is not the number of leads they expect to generate but their quality, which goes back to the brand’s ICP.
Whatever’s decided, the brand’s average ROI may help determine how much to budget for lead generation. This is an important investment at an even more important period and makes testing extremely valuable.
Before a full launch and if doing this in-house, conduct an A/B test with 100 to 200 customers. Agree beforehand on what success looks like. Remember that these are select consumers with a greater likelihood of buying. Is it 50% or those contacted who buy, 40% or 30%?
That should be the threshold in altering and adjusting the strategy. Review and analyze feedback as well. It sometimes says a lot more than the numbers.
Keep testing even after launching the lead generation plan.
Be aware that even successful programs have a life of three months or less before they become predictable and boring. Change it up even a little to maintain interest.