It wasn’t too long ago that a Lead Gen program in a B2B company consisted of a team of telemarketers who would make phone calls in an effort to generate some hot leads for the sales department. Combined with bingo cards from trade publications and business cards from trade shows the Lead Gen effort was more of a shot gun approach than a well aimed pistol.
Today, with the avenues of digital reach and social media, lead generation has an entirely new complexion and if well executed, delivers the sales department with highly qualified leads of individuals nearing the buying stage of the relationship. So, what is your Lead Gen strategy and how successful has it been? We brought in Lead Gen expert Alan Zeichick, President and Principal Analyst at Camden Associates and co-founder of BZ Media LLC., to give you five tips for building your Lead Gen program:
1. Define your Lead Gen strategy. A good Lead Gen program is not one that simply provides names to the sales department, it actually delivers the right individuals who are nearing the buying stage. What are your goals? How many leads will you deliver this quarter? What are the three or four components of your Lead Gen program that you will execute this year? Then draw out a plan.
“The best programs tend to be of white papers that describe new, emerging trends, which offers genuine substance, and which close by describing the vendor’s products/services,” said Zeichik. “The programs that work the least are straight-forward product pitches, documents which promote a ‘competitive upgrade’.”
2. Know your buyer. Determine the unique characteristics of your potential customer for each of your products. Where can you find these people? Are they on social media, mobile and email? What trade publications do they read? What are their topics of special interest? Do they frequent websites, subscribe to e-newsletters, attend conferences? Use those mediums to begin the dialogue.
3. Create content. You begin your relationship with a potential customer by providing them with information of interest to them. By creating content whether it is in the form of a White Paper, Webinar, Custom Publishing, seminar or any number of other mediums, you will begin to entice the prospect in to seeking more quality information from you. That thought leadership position will move the prospect closer to your products while developing a high regard for your brand.
“Good content offers genuine value to the prospect as well as some reasonable tie-in to your products/services,” Said Zeichik. “Whether it’s industry information, buyer’s guides, how-to info, or even a logo baseball cap, you have to know your potential customers”
4. Optimize your webpage. Whether the lead is an in-bound inquiry by phone or email or generated externally, prospects must be sent to a customized landing page specifically about the product that interests them. It is here you can capture some early information on the lead, however, do not be tempted to ask too much initially or they will go away.
Start slow by simply getting their email address. You can then track that lead as they move further down the buying path.
5. Nurture you leads. Very few prospects who express an interest in your product are ready to buy – most B2B markets have long buying lead times. So just because someone downloaded your whitepaper but did not give you additional information about themselves does not mean they are not a good prospect. You must continue to communicate with them, read their digital body language by tracking what they like, what they click, what questions they are asking. As you move along the process you will start seeing those who are exhibiting buying behaviors.
“If someone signs up for a lead-generation program, the one thing you know is that the person likes information,” said Zeichik. “Feed this person information. Become a trusted information source first, and then build a relationship.”