What’s a Lead?
Put that information, incomplete or otherwise, in a database to which additional data can be entered. A properly designed and maintained database is the well-oiled hub of all lead generation activity. It represents the rallying point for collaboration between marketing and sales. It also can foster cooperation among other groups in the organization, including those interfacing with customers, such as solution implementation, front-line customer service, accounts receivable and others, like corporate management and research and development.
When constructing this lead database, consider what fields are “must haves” and which are “nice to haves.” Much of your data field requirements will be dictated by your universal lead definition. What are the quantifiable attributes of a qualified lead? You then can determine necessary dashboard reports, like activity, results and analysis. Track and manage all contacts made to the prospects in this database. Because the database is an invaluable nucleus for lead generation, you should assign maintenance responsibility, agree on data-entry processes and keep it current with regular updates by all stakeholders.
Step Three: Pick Up the Phone and Qualify Prospective Leads
The role the phone plays in modern lead generation is all too often overlooked by marketers. This is unfortunate, because if done well, outbound calling is by far the most effective tool for qualifying leads—particularly for the complex sale, in which few other economical options exist for contacting high-level decision makers.
This quote from a favorite book by authors Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway and Jon Warshawsky, “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide” (Simon and Schuster Free Press, 2005) summarizes my feeling on this topic:
The deluge of e-mail today has brought a different dimension to phoning. The live human voice makes significant things happen. There is perhaps less economy in a phone exchange than an e-mail message, but economy is not necessarily a good thing when the need is to connect with people. In another sense, phoning implies effort. People appreciate effort. That five-minute conversation requires you to dedicate that much of your time to the person you are calling. You talk. The prospect listens. The prospect talks. You listen. It’s an amazing thing, knowing that someone is paying attention and then returning the favor. Amazingly different, anyway.