Friday, February 24, 2006

Sales Lead Generation Starts Here

The goal is to generate more sales leads, get them qualified and move them as fast as possible through their buying cycle.

It starts with the list.

Get the list wrong and you WILL fail!

Presumably, the list has been well chosen to have a high percentage of prospects in your target market. There is waste in the list, but not nearly as much waste as with mass media, or even targeted mass media.

But the list is just the starting point of building the marketing database.

The list is full of "suspects" and you initiate your first outbound initiative against the list. Some will respond. Most typically the responders will be in the range of 2 - 10%. If your outbound initiative was well designed then the responders have told you some key bits of information about themselves. There's a whole lot more that you do not yet know about them. So your telemarketer calls to qualify ... and they learn some more about the prospect.

At most companies (well over 50%), this information about these prospects is lost after the outbound campaign.

So the next campaign begins again with a new list, and the cycle is repeated over and over. All the non-responders never hear from you again, unless they happen to be on the new list you rent.

Given this standard operating procedure at most companies, you never learn about your prospects and you never have a process of moving more of them into your funnel where you can develop them over a life cycle and close more of them faster.

Instead, determine what information you need to understand about each prospect ... the information that will help you understand their needs so you can then help them, build trust and guide them into a long term relationship. Then build your database schema so you have fields for each of the key information factors. Now you can fill these fields -- little by little -- each campaign designed to learn more about the people in your database. Then you prepare initiatives that are designed to motivate specific clusters that share common attributes. Once you've done this, your response rates will climb -- dramatically. Often well over 50%.

So your lead generation might start with the list. If it ends there, you will struggle forever.

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