“Proof of the Pudding” is No Longer in Just Eating It
Photo: Jarle Vines (Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike 3.0)
I barely even made it to the pudding—or the dessert bar—at l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges after a four hour dinner! I have to share this story. It is not a visit to a fancy restaurant type of story but instead about a culinary experience that goes beyond imagination. On my recent trip to Paris, I took a detour to Lyon to visit one of the few select Michelin three-star rated luxury restaurants in France. The owner is a living legend whose very name is revered. So much so that my taxi driver was offended when I asked to be driven to “Chef Bocuse’s place”. He insisted I speak with respect (reverence?) and refer to him only as “Monsieur Chef Paul Bocuse”. My curiosity and excitement went up higher.
Think about this: *Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (shortened to MOF), “Chef of the Century”, “ambassador of modern French cuisine”; these are titles and awards that M. Chef Bocuse is known for. His restaurant, l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges has stood the test of time and is still the temple of classical French cooking. There is something to be said about this timeless tradition of excellence.
(*The title of Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (shortened to MOF) is a unique award in a contest between professionals. This competition requires extensive preparation. Technical skills, innovation, respect for traditions and other aspects are all practiced repeatedly to a level of refinement and excellence, effectiveness and quickness to succeed. Winners are crowned by the jury which makes its decision according to the distribution of points awarded during the entire process.)
It’s not about earning the Michelin three stars but retaining it year after year. Believe it or not, these are true culinary artists who are passionate and obsessed with their art of fine cuisine. Another very famous French Chef, Bernard Loiseau committed suicide because a newspaper report hinted that his restaurant may lose its three-star rating. Four years after he killed himself over this rumour, his restaurant, La Côte d’Or still remained a three-star establishment. But Loiseau did not live to see it.
The point I’m trying to make is, even with the mastery that these famous chefs have achieved, success can be fleeting. Even the thought of it slipping through your hands is fatal as we see in the case of Loiseau. The Bocuse family has been cooking famously since the 1700s. (Mind you, Chef Bocuse is now 87 years old, so if you want to enjoy the experience that I did, plan on going there soon!)
How is this of any significance and relevance to our B2B demand generation world? To my mind, there is a lesson to be learned about how to make success enduring.
Yes you need a lead generation process. Yes you need a lead scoring system. Yes you can bring in marketing automation. Yes you can run on auto-pilot for fairly long periods. But you have to do all this with a heart. No matter how many unconventional, innovative, new tactics you bring in to your marketing plays, you cannot deny the power of traditional, tried and true lead generation best practices. There is no substitute for a carefully nurtured relationship that has a generous portion of the personal touch.
Chef Bocuse does not rely on his immaculately dressed restaurant and meal presentation, or the Michelin three-star rating, or a team that boasts 4 Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (most restaurants that have any at all will have one MOF). He takes it upon himself to make the experience memorable. I cannot explain to you how honoured and happy I felt when after the most exquisite meal that lasted 4 hours, I was greeted by Chef Bocuse himself. He walked around meeting guests at their tables and posing for photographs with them. Here are a few pictures from my experience at l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges.
Count On These 5 B2B Lead Generation Best Practices to Always Deliver
1. Blend the grey and the green: The challenge in many B2B marketing organizations is that it’s either the ‘grey’ (wise and experienced) or the ‘green’ (newbie and creative) in a position of power and calling the shots. Blend the two so that new age technologies can be optimally leveraged with the valuable mingling of experience. The wisdom and experience of the old boosts the agility and speed of the new. Everybody wins! It’s like the classic, all-time favourite dishes on your menu that appeal universally to all tastes.
2. Pull don’t push: Whether it is a traditional tool like a sales letter or phone call or a newer technique like an online video or blog, you just can’t be too in the face, selling all the time. Buyers are fed up of pushy sales talk. They want good, meaningful, engaging content. It’s like a vol au vent—the same, hollow case of puff pastry can be filled with an endless variety of sweet and savoury delights. What you fill it with will make all the difference.
3. Show your personality: It’s what people remember and the reason they come back for more. I cannot even begin to list everything I ate at Chef Bocuse’s restaurant, but my meeting with the legendary chef will always be a fond memory. As B2B marketers, we are often wary of showing our brand’s personality. In most cases, it is probably because it does not exist or is indistinct. A brand cannot be a commodity; it has to be an experience. You have to feel it, taste it, enjoy it and remember it.
4. Communicate and Listen: Mistakenly, many of us fall into the trap of broadcasting. We talk aloud on our websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and just everywhere, all over the place. We fail to listen to what customers and prospects are saying. And very soon, they stop listening too. We go back often to restaurants where a host remembers the wine or dessert we really liked the last time. It makes us feel special. Effective communication that generates quality leads is all about making your customer feel special.
5. Recognize that the middle is actually the deep end: You may serve up the best appetizers and the most exotic desserts, but your main course is the mainstay of your menu. It’s where your patrons look for the sublime taste that takes a meal from ordinary to extraordinary. The most compelling offer can bring in a great lead. The end goal, however, is customer engagement. Until you have engagement you cannot even think about conversion. The problem starts when organizations focus on the beginning i.e. leads, and the end i.e. conversion. What about the middle? How are you going to progress leads towards conversion without careful nurturing and ongoing engagement?
What B2B lead generation practices does your organization use effectively? Please comment below. Plus, if you are interested in accelerating your demand generation, be sure to download a free copy of The ALEA Demand Generation Playbook by following this link.