6 Lead Generation Best Practices
Lead generation is the Rodney Dangerfield of the corporate world. It gets no respect. Yet it provides the first impression that many prospective clients have of a company, and can provide a wealth of information that can impact sales, as well as product development, marketing and service.
When approached the right way, lead generation is an organization’s most valuable resource. So, how can organizations get the most out of their sales prospecting teams? Here are six lead generation practices to follow:
1. Decide if an in-house or outsourced team is right for you. Many organizations simply look at the bottom line when deciding whether to outsource. But there are other costs to consider, including benefits and management oversight, productivity attrition (the time a person isn't productive), turnover, and ramp-up time. Sometimes a hybrid approach works for businesses. An outsourced partner handles outbound prospecting and an in-house team handles inbound lead generation. This can be effective since outbound prospecting tends to be ignored because inbound is "warmer."
2. Invest in good data. Before the first lead generation call is made, however, behind-the-scenes work must take place to make sure callers are given high-quality, clean, industry-specific contacts. This should be the job of researchers who develop lists and validate accurate contact information so there are no wasted touches when a campaign begins. Giving an unconfirmed or outdated list to your lead generation team slows down campaigns and skews conversion data. If 30 percent of a list is irrelevant or inaccurate, the correct way to calculate conversion is on the 70 percent that contains accurate data.
3. Plan a workflow that incorporates a realistic call volume. Develop a campaign structure that combines at least two channels, such as email and phone contact, with phone follow up over a realistic length of time. Plan for when touches should occur, and their frequency, so lead generation can be professionally persistent over time. Plan call volumes so your team can follow up in a relevant time period. If you send 1,000 emails, it may take 10 business days to call the list of recipients. This will not allow representatives to make a second call in an acceptable time period, and results will suffer.
4. Make messaging about peers. People don't like being told what to do or how to feel. Messaging that's “you-based" — "YOU will see these results; YOU have these problems; YOU will benefit from this solution" — backfires.
Instead, talk about peers and their experiences. What are their challenges? How have you been able to resolve those challenges? People are curious about what their peers are doing, so leverage that curiosity in the prospecting process.
5. Develop an accurate reporting mechanism. Have insight about how your campaign is working so you can adjust your program to get better results. Make sure you can see important metrics, such as what day of the week and time of day were best for calling, which lead source was most successful, which targets were most receptive (by revenue range, employee size, etc.), which message resonated the best, which team members had the most success, what campaign cadence or frequency of calls yielded the best results, and so on. Comb over this data frequently to optimize your campaigns.
6. Get value out of every call. An outcall should generate appointments and more. Every prospect conversation has value, even if the response is “no.” Have a process in place so representatives can gain valuable knowledge that will help future campaigns or give insight about product needs. For example, if you're selling a solution that complements a CRM technology, ask which CRM technology the customer uses. In several months when the company launches a module just for that technology, a database of vetted users is available.
With these best practices, companies should be able to come away with leads and appointments, as well as insight into how to adjust the outcall to exponentially increase output for more sales leads, appointments and revenue.
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