Lead generation is the growth life-line for any company regardless of size. Hence, it’s often an assumed goal that frequently fails to answer the question of “how” leads will be generated or how many leads will be generated. There are so many different approaches to lead gen it can be nearly dizzying. Adding additional complexity – depending on the approach your company is deploying, it can also be dangerous if there isn’t a clear understanding of how each approach (or combination) will not only meet your sales goals, but how the organization will operationally support the activity. So we’re breaking it down into pros and cons, to give you the info needed to determine what’s best for your Company – starting with four primary categories, and then sorting each based on expense and impact:
The veteran sales guy or gal will often refer to it as “dialing for dollars”. And, most sales people will also tell you it’s the least desirable activity they’ve ever had to take on. So we’ll put that down as a con. We believe the primary reason many companies continue to use this approach is based in statistical predictability (which doesn’t reflect skill sets by the outbound caller) and they lack the knowledge and/or confidence in alternative options:
- Statistically predictable* – On average for every 100 dials you make, 1 will result in an actual live connection
- 23% of the time, that one connection will turn into an appointment
- Doing the math (and rounding up a bit) – for every 400 calls you “should” generate 1 appointment.
*Source: Open View Partners
- See the Pros – you would need a very large call center to achieve the amount of appointments a business would need to meet their sales goals.
eMail – Social Media Key Learning: Low cost, low impact in short run, but can build over time.
2. Segment-Based Marketing
This is one of our favorites because of the predictability. Segment-Based Marketing (SBM) is rooted in tradeshows and conferences- any special event specifically produced to inform or even entertain a specific business or consumer segment. An easy example is to think about a sports tradeshow – 90% of the attendees will be sports vendors and retailers coming together to sell and buy products and services. Thanks to an information-rich digital universe, SBM can cast a much wider net without the premise based “event” boundaries. Amptopia has added an additional unique spin to not only speed up the volume of leads, but also the quality – leveraging digital publications that have built a strong subscriber base that matches your business’ lead profiles. The key to success is having a plan that allows your business to capitalize (and coat-tail) on the established equity many of these publications have earned with their very loyal and active subscriber base. The result is an accelerated, and marketing qualified lead pipeline.
Pros (there are many, we’re listing 3 of the greatest)
- Inbound leads should all meet pre-defined qualification criteria – increasing sales efficiency when it’s time to lob a follow-up call.
- Many of the digital media publications have marketing options which guarantee leads and reduces the risk of achieving your goals.
- It’s predictable and reliable. One of the biggest challenges for sales is reliable forecasting. Most digital publications have been tracking their own KPIs respective to how engaged their subscribers are with content that has been shared. This same information can be applied to estimate the amount of inbound leads your business can anticipate prior to implementation. An ideal solution for businesses with low-risk tolerance.
- This approach can generate a high volume of leads, if your organization hasn’t taken steps to operationally prepare, you’ll find the pipeline full but most of the leads will go to waste. Feel free to ask us about a success story with dismal results.
SBM Key Learning: High cost, high impact in a relatively short period of time. Inbound leads are generally warm and meet pre-qualified criteria.
- Although this approach pays for itself, many businesses aren’t prepared to support the typical monthly budget that can run up to $10K+ (depending on Industry) – budgets should be set based on the number of salespeople, and an average cost per lead warranted by the annual and lifetime revenue generated by each transaction. If the team isn’t fully committed at all levels, it’s worth waiting.
3. Account Based Marketing
This isn’t a new concept for the veteran salesperson. Account Based Marketing (ABM) is traditionally referred to as one-to-one marketing. You create a list of your top 30-50 accounts and develop a strategy to convert 25-35% of those accounts to achieve your annual/quarterly goals. Today, with the support of marketing automation and CRM platforms, businesses can cast a wider net of up to 500 key accounts, personalized and semi-customized to deliver similar results as a near-true ABM plan. We apply a 5-6 touch multi-communication plan that creates a high frequency, virtual fence around specific businesses and the decision makers within those businesses – this generates a lower level of lead volume vs. segment-based marketing, but the quality and value of the leads are typically much greater.
- For organizations with a lean sales team (or no sales team), an ABM plan will most likely provide you a manageable amount of lead activity but generate larger deals to achieve the revenue goals.
- ABM plans typically have a lower cost to implementation since digital media plays only a minor role.
- The key to a high impact ABM is using variable data to personalize all creative elements. Don’t skimp on this component as it becomes a significant contributing factor to response.
- The best ABM plans are a collaborative effort between marketing and sales.
- This approach has a small denominator to work with, hence there’s little room for error. We recommend a hybrid with a Segment program.
- One of the contributing response drivers is staying on task with a weekly contact. If your business frequently runs into operational challenges – this will not be your best option.
- See the last “Pro” point- to work effectively, marketing and sales must work together.
Lead gen comes in many shapes and sizes. Recently, there has been a myriad of companies that are promising thousands of leads each month. As the saying goes, “buyer beware”. Most companies aren’t looking to keep their sales busy following up on non-qualified leads. This approach can also create additional friction between marketing and sales if monthly goals are missed. The best lead gen plans will have a quantified plan, with a methodology to support the estimates. There should also be a process integrating traditional marketing communication best practices – messaging, call to action, and compelling offers.