The best lead gen plans begin with a strategy supported by tactical and operational solutions. Which tactics are deployed depends on several variables: the size of your sales force, the expense budget, operational capabilities, and how well your organization is set-up to process inbound leads. All plans should have been quantified to ensure there’s a clear path forward for sales to achieve revenue goals – but what if marketing and sales are falling short of their goals? Don’t panic, but it’s certainly time to pull your emergency response team together and build a sale’s “gap plan” with the most reliable tactics available. We’ve compiled our list of tactics that have the least amount of risk, along with a quick game plan on how to implement.

1. Tradeshows/Conferences

Lead Gen Opportunity

These events can be a perfect venue to drive a solid lead pipeline, but the quantity and value of those leads will be codependent on your marketing game plan. People who take the time to attend a tradeshow are generally searching for new ideas, innovative approaches, or simply a better way for them to perform their scope of work – bottom line, most of these attendees are your target and actively seeking out vendors who meet these expectations. The key to optimizing these events is to make sure you have a before-during-post marketing plan in place.

What needs to be done?

  • Begin planning 4 months prior to the event.
  • Along with your booth, secure a speaking role ideally within one of the breakout learning sessions
  • Be prepared to pitch a topic or pay for the opportunity
  • Request an attendee list or sponsor a couple of the email updates.
  • Send an invitation to meet, and share some complimentary content
  • Publish updates on all social media pre, during, and post-event
  • Compliment speakers, share a point of view or a picture of your booth, encourage “meet-ups”
  • If you’re speaking, collect business cards at the end of your event – usually, those attendees genuinely interested in your topic will share their contact information in order to receive a digital copy of your presentation or some additional complimentary content.

2. Webinars

Lead Gen Opportunity

Like tradeshows and conferences, webinars have the potential to be a highly effective lead generating engine. But there’s much more to the success, than a “build it and they will come” approach.

What needs to be done?

  • Plan at least 10 weeks in advance
  • Secure a complimentary partner as a co-presenter, ideally, they’ll have a significant sized loyal database
  • Select a topic that’s either solution based or a detailed business case(s)
  • Plan a vigorous attendance recruitment campaign using social media, email, and a press release
  • Develop presentation drafts 3 weeks in advance
  • Rehearse – 3+ times (don’t’ forget a tech run-through)
  • Distribute a post-event email –digital presentation copies, requests to meet

3. Segment-Based Marketing (SBM)

Lead Gen Opportunity

SBM is rooted in the same premise behind tradeshows and conferences (any special event specifically produced to inform or even entertain a specific business or consumer segment). This approach identifies digital news and information resources who already have a loyal subscriber base that aligns to your ideal targeted lead. Hence, your starting marketing campaign efforts with a pre-qualified audience that meets the definition of a marketing qualified lead. Amptopia has used this approach for several years to speed up the velocity and quality of leads by buying access to these very desirable subscribers and eliminating the challenge of sending email that ends up in a spam or junk folder.

What needs to be done?

  • Run a digital scan of your market: Identify digital news, information, and/or research resources relevant to your industry
  • Define the size of the opportunity: determine how many subscribers your company could have access to
  • Define the Value: compare the audience profile of each publication to your targeted lead profiles
  • Identify lead generating options: most publications offer a variety of marketing options designed to get your company exposure to the right audience
  • Create your inbound plan: using the data above, identify at least 2 or more resources capable of delivering the number of leads needed to support your sales team

Notation: Do not underestimate the number of inbound leads that can be delivered with this tactic – both the lead database and the sales pipeline

4. Digital Referral Engines

Lead Gen Opportunity

Most industries have a variety of digital referral engines – web sites that have a single purpose of operating as a micro-search engine for end users looking for a specific product/service/technology. They’re generally low cost, and the leads are usually highly qualified. The downside, the volume can be quite low. Our recommendation is to take advantage of these sites, but don’t count on them to provide enough qualified lead activity to make your sales quota.

What needs to be done?

  • Run an industry search, such as “Technology << name of product/services>> recommendations or referrals”
  • Typically, you’ll find a link at the top or bottom navigation bar for vendors
  • Register your company and the products/services you offer
  • Establish your monthly budget – most of these sites are pay per click

5. Website Live Chat

Lead Gen Opportunity

Of all the tactics listed, this is one of the best lead gen tools every company should be taking advantage of, but don’t and we find it a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s entirely possible that your marketing campaigns and sales efforts are having a much greater impact than you realize, but there’s no one to greet your new lead when they stop by to visit your site. Think of the logic this way – when a lead has decided on a solution, the next step is to vet those companies through their websites – so 75-80% of every website visitor is a qualified lead. It’s up to you to seize the moment to convert them to something actionable.

What needs to be done?

  • There are several live chat plug-ins available, if your organization has a lean workforce, we recommend a solution that allows you to use some AI and a set of the most common FAQs.
    • I recommend Zoho Desk or SalesIQ (also monitors in real-time the amount of traffic occurring on your site) or Live Person
  • Work with sales to define the top 5 most common questions
  • Script the best approach to shift the lead into agreeing to meet with sales or to register for a demo
  • Train, train, train your team on the best way to manage these sales qualified leads

With 6 months left in the year, now is the best time to identify the size of the sales gap and develop a plan to close the gap. Your best lead gen tactics are wrapped in a micro-campaign – which require a well-orchestrated plan supported by both marketing and sales.